What you need to know:
- Sweet potato is a warm weather crop that thrives in most parts of Kenya.
- For best production of the crop, vines are cut from middle segments with two nodes removed from the middle and upper thirds.
- To transplant arrowroot seedlings, do it during the rainy season or alternatively use irrigation.
How to eliminate stubborn rats in a food store
I have a problem with rodents, specifically rats, that attack rice in my store. How can I eradicate them?
Rodents can be a menace if not properly managed. To contain them, first ensure your store has no holes.
If any, seal. Second, you can use traps, and there are numerous in the market.
Third, there are several baits available in the market to attract and kill the rodents.
Get them from agrovet shops. They can be used both for control of rats and moles. Spread the paste on a bait like roasted meat, bread, groundnuts or even omena.
Place the bait in corners and their hiding places. They will die a day after consuming it.
Lastly, you can construct rat guards using a piece of flat metal to prevent entry.
Jayo Manyasi Tracyline,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils Egerton University.
Arrowroots and sweet potatoes
I reside in Eldoret and have a 100-by-100m plot. I want to grow sweet potatoes and arrowroots. Advise on the viability of such business considering the weather and type soil.
Sweet potato is a warm weather crop that thrives in most parts of Kenya. For best production of the crop, vines are cut from middle segments with two nodes removed from the middle and upper thirds.
Make 10-inch-high ridges spaced three-and-a-half feet apart.
It is advisable to plant your vines using compost manure and avoid high nitrogenous fertilisers, which in most cases lead to growth of more vegetative vines and small tubers.
However, farmers can use NPK fertiliser for the development of roots and shoots.
Fungal diseases affect sweet potatoes and include black rot, which is controlled using fungicides that are available in agro shops.
The variety recommended for planting in Uasin Gishu is Kenspot-1, which is early maturing and readily available.
Traditionally, farmers have been planting arrowroots, which have a long maturity period of eight months. However, varieties that take five to six months are now available.
To transplant arrowroot seedlings, do it during the rainy season or alternatively use irrigation.
Make a two-foot mount, cover with manure and add mulch on top to preserve soil moisture content.
Most varieties do well in swampy and waterlogged areas but farmers can also plant on their farms away from riverbanks as long as there is continuous supply of water.
Hillary Chelal, Agro Science Park
I am Gideon Gitau, a KCSE candidate. What are the various agriculture courses that entail crop production offered at Egerton University?
Also, what is the cut-off mark and how many years does it take to complete?
There is BSc. Horticulture and BSc. Agriculture. For more information on the cut-off points and the subjects one should have passed in KCSE exam, kindly visit the Egerton University website www.egerton.ac.ke.
The courses take four years, two semesters each year, thus you study eight semesters.
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University
Engaging children in fish farming
I read your article on July 18 on engaging children on the farm and I liked it. How can I be engaged in fish farming?
Grade 3, St. Christopher Catholic School, Ruiru
Dear Fidelis, your interest in fish farming, which has socio-economic and health benefits, is commendable.
Fish can give you money during the long holiday and provide you and your family with a rich source of protein that is not only low in cholesterol but also has Omega 3, which is superb for brain development.
Activities that you can engage in include fish production and fish cooking. In production, you can rear fish such as tilapia and catfish in low cost/easy to manage above-the-ground ponds or you can produce ornamental fish for entertainment and mental well-being.
To get more information on how to rear fish in ground ponds, search for my article online titled “All that you need to rear fish the modern way”.
As for the aquarium fish, there are many suppliers/trainers in the country and some of them have been fully covered in previous issues of Seeds of Gold magazine.
You can sell fish from both production systems and you can also start agro-tourism whereby other pupils come to learn about fish at a small fee.
Cooking tasty fish at home can sharpen your cooking skills and you
Grandpa was denied land
My great grandfather refused to share his land equally between my grandfather and another son.
He gave my grandfather just a small portion and because his other son was a chief, the title deed is in his name. How can this be corrected?
- Waitere Pius
Let your father prove in court that he is the only surviving and bona fide son of your grandfather.
Armed with this, seek to be registered as the administrator of the land. This will enable him to acquire the title.
Betty Rono and Dr. C. Lenashuru