A collection of news on farming, agribusiness

Abraham Ewoi of the Uasin Gishu County Government explains to farmers how a potato seed planter works during a field day in Moiben where Governor Jackson Mandagor urged farmers to embrace crops such as macadamia, coffee, avocados, herbs and tissue culture bananas due to guaranteed markets and better returns. 




 

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago has urged farmers to embrace crops such as macadamia, coffee, avocados, herbs and tissue culture bananas due to guaranteed markets and better returns.
  • Cotton farmers in Taita-Taveta County have rejected the price offered by the government for their produce.
  • More than  200 small-scale farmers across the county sell their cotton to Makueni Ginneries, where they have been receiving Sh52 per kilo. But the price was decreased recently to Sh48
  • The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations in its latest update notes that hopper bands are forming in counties in the north.

Grow macadamia and avocados, farmers told

Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago has urged farmers to embrace crops such as macadamia, coffee, avocados, herbs and tissue culture bananas due to guaranteed markets and better returns.

“Some counties like Murang’a are known for macadamia but, as a region, we are keen to becoming top producers of the high value crops for export market,” said Mandago, during a field day organised by Agriculture and Food Authority and the county government. 

In the past five years, the devolved unit has been promoting the crops to woo farmers away from maize and wheat.

AFA director-general Antony Muriithi said the State agency was keen to improve standards of produced for local and international markets.

Elgeyo-Markawet deputy governor Wesley Rotich and Uasin Gishu Agriculture executive Samuel Yego, encouraged farmers in the North Rift to diversify to other crops. 

-Stanley Kimuge

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Cotton farmers oppose poor pay

Cotton farmers in Taita-Taveta County have rejected the price offered by the government for their produce.

The farmers from Taveta have vowed to replace the crop with others to avoid losses.

More than  200 small-scale farmers across the county sell their cotton to Makueni Ginneries, where they have been receiving Sh52 per kilo. But the price was decreased recently to Sh48

Mr Mwacharo Kubo, a farmer, said they are disappointed with the new price.

"We have lost confidence in cotton farming because of dwindling income. We had hopes that the price will keep going up but to our surprise they have reduced by Sh4," he said.

The revival of cotton farming in the county had given hope to many.

"The demand for the crop has risen because the government has revived textile industries. That is why we are demanding for better prices," said Kubo.

The farmers are demanding at least Sh60 per kilo.

Mr Kubo, who has been growing cotton for 20 years, said the farming has never given him good returns.

-Lucy Mkanyika

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Second wave of locust invasion as swarms return in northern counties

About a year after invading the country, locusts remain a threat as the insects, which had been largely controlled for the better part of 2020, return to northern counties in a second wave.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations in its latest update notes that hopper bands are forming in counties in the north.

"In Kenya, a few early and mid-instar hopper bands are forming in Samburu County. In the northeast, more swarms have been reported near the Somalia border in Mandera and Wajir counties of which may be laying eggs. These swarms probably came from central Somalia on northerly winds that are now reaching Kenya," says FAO.

The organisation observes that widespread breeding continues in eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia, where new swarms are expected to start forming in early December and move south to Kenya and southern Somalia by mid-December.

According to FAO, immature swarms continue to be present in the northwest between Boroma and Hargeisa in Somalia. 

Similarly, in Ethiopia, a few immature swarms persist in Afar  while in Eritrea, swarms are scattered throughout the highlands to nearly the Sudan border. With the insects persistent in the region, Kenya is not yet out of the woods.

Samburu special programmes chief officer Daniel Lesaigor recently told the Nation recently that the county was keeping tabs on the insects and would take control measures.

-Brian Okinda

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