Category Archives: Agriculture

We bring you details on food production, animal farming and the technology and science that comes with it. Only on Lugari Daily.

Farmers in Lwandeti cry out for help as monkeys devour their maize crops

By Sam Oduor

Over 500 farmers in Masasuli Village in Lwandeti Ward, Matete, are appealing to the government to help them drive out monkeys that have been, for the third year in a row, destroying their maize crops and leading them to huge losses.

A farmer, who stays near Masasuli Primary School where the monkeys are ravenously plundering farms, described the menace a blunder to their food security and economic empowerment and called for immediate action against the loose wild animals that are not only destroying maize but also other crops such as bananas and vegetables.

“The monkeys moved out from Nzoia River after people cut down trees which used to be their home and food and migrated to our farms. They now hide in sugarcane plantations from where they attack our maize crops and steal food from homes,” the farmer, whose part of land is covered in eight acres of maize, lamented.

Monkeys are out of bound in Masasuli Village. This picture shows a maize produce reaped open by a monkey in the field on Peter Mulati, a replica of thousands of crops in the field. Photo– Courtesy

The farmer said that they have tried chasing the animals away using dogs to no avail.

“We also try reaching out to the local government but our plight falls on deaf ears. The monkeys are wasting a lot of our time used in scaring them away. They are also a scare to school children and women, ” he added.

Mr. Peter Mulati, another devastated farmer with three acres of maize, emphasized that human encroachment into the monkeys’ habitat is the cause of all this.

“I am a conservationist and I understand that once humans beings encroach into and destroy the habitat of animals, they will sure answer back. Our appeal is to the Kenya Wildlife Service to come and carry the animals away so as we get a permanent solution,” he said.

The monkeys seem to be going from crop to crop as they devour the farms. Photo– Courtesy

The conservationist noted that the yield from the crops will be poor this year since the monkeys are feeding on the budding maize and destroying them completely, something that has been discouraging farmers from the activity.

Other farmers affected are Anthony Mulati, whose banana farm was swept clean by the monkeys apart from the destruction in his maize farm; and Eglay Situma, whose maize crops have been reduced to desperate stalks.

The area assistant chief Thomas Luvonga would really like the farmers plight be attended to in the shorted time possible.

Green light to farmers as govt plans to set up embryo transfer plant in Eldoret

By Moses Kibwana

The national government in conjunction with the county government of Uasin Gishu and the Kenya Animal Genetic Resource Centre (KAGRC) is in the process of setting up an artificial insemination center for farmers.

The center is expected to cost a total of sh 600 million and will increase the number of offsprings a genetically superior cow can produce under the new Embryo Transfer Technology.

So far, a piece of land has been identified to set up the project and construction is set to begin as soon as the necessary formalities are complete.

Dr. David Kios, the KAGRC managing director, noted that Embryo Transfer Technology (ET) has been practiced in small scale in the country for more than 30 years, although the adoption of the technology has been slow especially among dairy farmers.

Among the reasons given for slow adoption is lack of trained personnel to undertake ET, lack of necessary infrastructure to facilitate the process as well as expensive and costly price of purchasing the embryos into the country.

An embryo transplant facility is to be set up in Uasin Gishu county. Photo– Courtesy

Artificial insemination (AI)

The center is set to focus more on artificial insemination where hundreds of offspring are released compared to natural mating where a cow is only able to give birth to one calf in a year.

Another advantage is that through ET, a cow will be able to produce at least 70 liters of milk in a day through the heifers that will be released through the whole insemination process.

Once the process is successful, the center is expected to produce 10,000 new heifers which will be transferred to farmers, 5000 bulls annually and overally increased milk production in the county.

In preparation to this, the institute is in preparation to train more than 100 personnel on the whole Embryo Transfer (ET) process from all the 47 counties countrywide. This will in turn increase job opportunities for the trainees in the agricultural sector and lead to increased economic growth.
ET is part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s big four agenda, of 100% food and nutrition security in the country.

Trans Nzoia forms teams for army worm surveillance

The Trans Nzoia County Government has formed scouting teams that will help farmers detect fall army worms and locusts for intervention in good time.

This comes as farmers embark on planting amid jitters of erratic rains in the region that is the country’s breadbasket though also home to fall army worms.

Addressing farmers on Friday, during the distribution of subsidized fertilizers to underprivileged residents in Kitale town, the County Chief Officer, Agriculture, Robert Musikoyo, said that fall army worm has been a challenge to maize farming in Trans Nzoia and thus the need to have compartment scouting teams for early detection.

The Chief Officers said that the teams will be spreading across the five Sub-counties and have been fully equipped with the aim of assisting farmers to prevent the spread of the pests that feed in large numbers on leaves, stems, and reproductive parts of plant species.

According to Musikoyo, his Department has procured enough pesticides for small scale farmers across the County.

He admitted that the County Government has no capacity to purchase the pesticides for all farmers, adding that large scale farmers will be able to buy on their own.

Trans Nzoia county government has formed a surveillance team to curb army worms. Photo | KNA

“We have in store last year’s stock and we have also procured extra insecticide as we want to ensure that more small scale farmers are assisted under this initiative…, we would wish to encourage large-scale farmers to make their own arrangements,” the Chief Officer said.

He encouraged farmers in the region to plant early as he attributed fall army worms to late planting.

“Scientifically crops planted on the onset of rains grow faster and therefore escape invasion of the worms at the early stage of growth,” he added.

To encourage diversification in the County, Musikoyo said that the Agriculture Department has procured 20,000 coffee seedlings, 30,000 tea 43,000 tissue culture banana seedlings besides purchasing 30,000 Macadamia seedlings to sell to farmers at subsidized prices.

“As a Department, we also want to encourage farmers to venture into other agricultural activities to improve their incomes that include dairy and poultry keeping,” he said.

He said that programs such as National Agriculture and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP) and the Agriculture Sector Development Support Program (ASDSP) have supplemented the County’s agricultural initiatives on diversification.

“We are impressed that most of our farmers are now into the crop diversification, a program that our Department has been promoting since 2014 and some of the farmers are now ripping big” Musikoyo said.

At least 15,000 bags of fertilizers were distributed to needy maize farmers during the exercise.

– By Paul Ikanda, Kenya News Agency

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Researchers develop high yielding beans varieties

Farmers have over the years been getting poor yields from beans due to planting poor quality seeds sourced from open air markets.

This has prompted the research institutions to partner so as to disseminate information on new beans technologies to the farmer.

The Green without Borders (GwB), a Non-Governmental Organisation, is working with the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) to create awareness about the latest beans varieties.

The GwB’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kenya, Andrew Egala says the varieties include Nyota, Angaza, Metameta and Faida.

Egala stated that Nyota matures in 70 days and yields 6-10 90-kilogrammes (kg) bags per acre while Angaza takes 80 days and can produce 7-13 bags per acre.

He added that the other varieties take a little longer period of slightly more than three months.

Researchers are developing high quality beans variety. Photo | KNA

The CEO pointed out that these beans have high Iron and Zinc nutrients content which prevents stunted growth in children and boosts body immune system.

“The beans are a rich source of essential proteins which would lead to the realization of a healthy populace,” he observed.

He said the early-maturing Nyota and Angaza are ideal for the western region which experiences adequate annual rainfall as the farmers would be able to plant thrice per season.

The farmers can get the seeds from the East Africa Seed Company outlets across the country and at KALRO centre in Kitale where one kg packet sells at between Sh.500 to Sh.600.

He discouraged the farmers from using the uncertified seeds since they have a low germination rate and hence poor yields.

Kenya News Agency