Category Archives: News

Farmers reduce post-harvest losses

Farmers in Laikipia Country have always been affected by low maize prices due to poor market channels and high postharvest loses. To address these challenges Maize farmers with support of the ASDSP founded Laikipia Maize Value Chain Development Network in 2015.

The Network is an umbrella organization consisting of 43 maize value chain groups drawn from Ol-Moran, Igwamiti, Githiga, Salama, Marmanet, Rumuruti and Ngobit Wards. The Network has improved the organization and
co-ordination of the maize value chain in Laikipia County as well as championing the collective interests of the Maize Value Chain actors enhancing a viability of the value chain.

ASDSP in collaboration with the County department of Agriculture trained 951 members of the Network on group dynamics, marketing, entrepreneurship,  soil sampling, maize production and post-harvest management. ASDSP also supported development of a manual on post -harvest handling of maize and linked the Network to Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

The Network with support of the County Government coordinates sourcing for farm inputs ensuring that farmers get certified seeds and subsidized government fertilizer. The Network negotiated for better maize prices at Ksh. 500 more per 90kg bag thus translating to an extra Ksh. 10,000 for a farmer who is producing 20 bags of maize per acre.

Through the Warehousing Receipting System (WRS), four cereal banks (Ndurumo, Sipili, Divai, and Ol- Moran) have secured an extra storage capacity of more than 40,000 bags. The adoption of appropriate post-harvest technologies has reduced post-harvest grain losses.

“I used to lose around 2 bags per acre due to post harvest losses but after training, application of post -harvest handling of maize manual and use of hermetic bags for storage I have reduced the post harvest losses by 10 percent,” said Mr. Mbogo, a member of the network.

Branded Honey: Rachemo Co-operative Society, Baringo County

Rachemo Cooperative Society Limited, located in Radat area of Mogotio Sub County, was initially registered by the Department of Social Services as a beekeepers self-help group in 1996. After interventions by ASDSP, they
transformed into a Cooperative Society in 2014 with the key objective of bulking, processing and marketing their honey. The society started with 20 members and has gradually increased membership to 77 (52 men and 25 women).

ASDSP in partnership with Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) built the capacity of the society members by training them on group dynamics, governance and management. They were also trained on production, processing, standardization and certification of honey. For hands on experience members were taken for study tours to Cabesi honey project in West Pokot County, National Bee Keeping Institute and International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Nairobi. The programme linked the society to Kenya commercial Bank Foundation where they accessed a loan of Ksh. 1.5 million for buying and selling of honey.

In order to build their society, members increased their share capital to KSh. 640,000 in 2016 from Ksh. 70,000 in 2014. The volume of honey traded increased from 2.7 tonnes in 2014 to 6.1 tonnes in 2015 and the income increased from KSh. 1.08 million to Ksh. 3.05 million in the same period. Honey prices also increased from Ksh. 450 per kilogram in 2014 to 600 Ksh. in 2016.

The society now processes quality honey certified by KEBS. It has relevant county licenses, uses food grade containers and have branded their product.

The honey is packaged in various quantities (20, 50, 100, 150, 300, 500 grams to 1kg) to meet the needs of the market. They acquired a barcode and are able to sell honey in super markets.

Nyamira County group excels in Banana Marketing

A group of 41 Nyamira farmers are earning between Sh500 to Sh1000 per bunch of bananas after establishing a joint marketing collection center to market their bananas. This is triple the amount they used to earn per bunch when
they sold the produce individually.
The farmers came together to spur sales after receiving various trainings by agricultural extension officers in the region.

According to a publication by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, cooperatives play a crucial role in reducing poverty, improving food security and generating employment opportunities.

“Cooperatives offer small agricultural producers opportunities and a wide range of services, including improved access to markets, natural resources, information, communications, technologies, credit, training and
warehouses,” said Thomas Nyamongo, an agricultural extension officer in Nyamira.

They also facilitate smallholder producers’ participation in decision-making at all levels, support them in securing land-use rights, and negotiate better terms for engagement in contract farming and lower prices for agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizer and equipment.

Initially, banana marketing in the county was controlled by unscrupulous middlemen who took advantage of farmers for their own selfish gains. The middlemen exploited farmers by buying one bunch of banana at between Sh150 to Sh200, a price farmers considered too low for their produce.
“In 2015 we formed Rikuruma banana bulking and marketing center to ensure we got fair prices for our bananas and eliminate middlemen who dictated the prices to us,” said Rael Mokua, one of the banana agripreneurs in Magwagwa
ward.

“Previously each farmer sold their produce alone, I could only manage to sell two or three bunches in a day but as of at now we are selling 200 to 300 bunches per day collectively”

The farmers turned entrepreneurs sell the produce at the open air market in Magwagwa ward, each member of the group participates in the collection and selling process. Majority of the buyers are usually travelers to various destinations including Nairobi, Kisumu and Nakuru amongst others.

The group marketing of the bananas has enabled the farmers to get better market information and empowered them to increase their agricultural productivity hence uplifting their standards of living.

Rael Mokua for instance has increased land under bananas from half an acre two acres allowing her to collect 13 to 14 bananas weekly for sale. This translates to more than Sh10, 000 income per week as compared to roughly Sh1200 she used to earn before joining Rikurukma banana bulking and marketing center.

Source: Farmbiz Africa- 03.05.2018

Siaya County farmer earns Sh10,000 a day on poultry side-hustle

A 27 old lady from Siaya County practicing poultry farming on a part time basis is rearing kuroiler and indigenous chicken earning her Sh200, 000 gross income per month and Sh150, 000 net income on her eighth acre farm.


Sellah Awino Migaya is an Information Technology expert by profession and works in a bank where she earns about Sh55, 000 a month. However, her passion for farming since childhood inspired her to keep busy during then weekends and holidays by starting a poultry farm.
“I love farming. Seeing my chicken increasing in number every other day gives me hope,” said Magaya.

With a meager capital of Shs. 15, 000 she bought 150 one year old kuroiler chicks from a supplier from Thika in 2016. As they continued to multiply she decided to put up a poultry house for them which cost Shs. 70, 000.

Magaya poultry farm is named Nyabungu Poultry FARM meaning it is located in the very rural setting in Usire along Bondo-Usenge highway near Maranda High School.

 “Given the more sales I carried out during the past festive season, the farm is currently housing between 470 and 500 chicken. I am therefore restocking to meet the high demand,” she said.

Magaya supplies 14 mature chicken of above three months old to two schools in the area every week. One such mature chicken goes for Sh700 earning her Sh9, 800 per week just from the two schools.

She also supplies first-starter farmers with chicks, who order between 250-300 chicks. This makes her commit to a month supply of 2000 chicks. She sells a day old chick at Sh100, a week old chick at Sh130, two weeks Sh150, three weeks Sh200, a month old chick at Sh250, three months Sh450 and above three months at Sh600 -800.

To cope with the high demand, Magaya has an incubator with a capacity of 1026 eggs that helps her hatch more chicks for the market.

Challenges

Like other ventures, poultry has its own problems especially if the owner fails to offer full attention.

“There so many things chicken need such as feeding, stress management and vaccination. These may not go as they should if I am not available fulltime in the farm,” she said.
To reduce the cost on feeds she buys unmixed feeds and mix them alone meeting the required balanced diet.

This way she buys 100kg of feed at Sh3500 that last for seven weeks against Sh5000 she would be using for the same amount of feeds lasting over the same duration of time.

On the other hand vaccination cost Sh2000 every month. Magaya seeks job relocation near her home and join her brother, Henry Migaya who manages the poultry farm in her absentia. This will also enable her fully follow her heart desire which is farming hence putting all her attention in it for even more income.

Magaya can be reached on +254 712 957715 or her brother on +254711529411 or visit her Facebook page;Nyabungu Poultry FARM.

Agricultural Value Chain Development in Makueni County

Agriculture best bet for Kisumu County to spur development

By George Abwajo
Published Sat, January 6th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 5th 2018 at 19:51 GMT +3

Kisumu County has a high unemployment rate of over 50 per cent, inequality and high poverty levels, with the youth being the most affected. These issues are not exclusive to the county but the region has resources it can utilise to change the situation. We are blessed with vital economic triggers. A good international airport, that is grossly underutilised, Lake Victoria and rivers, equally not well utilised, favourable climate and rich soils and lastly a populace rich and talented in arts and sports. Kisumu has very few industries and is mainly sustained by small retail industries and boda boda, which employ thousands of youth. Outside the town the bustling Kibos Sugar, the failed Miwani Sugar and the poorly managed and the loss making Chemelil and Muhoroni Sugar are other notable employers. It means in a county with seven sub counties, six are even faced with lower standards of living than the urban Kisumu Central.

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Fishermen worry as lake turns into a death trap Last December, representatives of the youth from all the sub counties met and deliberated on these issues. They decided to come together under a youth movement in the push for socio-economic empowerment. Based on this, the county needs to first transform to a production economy. At the moment, tender servicing and delivery are the main focus, yet this alone cannot accommodate everyone even if the agreed minimum of 30 per cent dedicated to the youth and women is to be honoured. We need to be a generator of real wealth by carrying the youth along, by producing and focusing on competitive advantage. Kisumu has often been described as a consumer town with major supermarket brands praising their branches for leading in sales. While at it, the same cannot be said of banks having branches in the town in regards to money circulation. Which means, savings and loans, two most important money aspects are still very low in the town. Urgent measures Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, a planning expert credited with planning and laying the economic foundation of Kibaki’s Government has already shown the best of intentions from his engagements so far. However, we feel that certain things need immediate attention. It has been projected that by 2020-2025 half the population in Kenya will be living in cities and towns. It means, Kisumu’s population will be expanding at a rate never seen before. Without proper and urgent intervention, there will be more unemployment, crime and other social vices. What is the way forward? Agriculture provides the urgent solution to this problem. This sector, which has a wide chain and links from the planting, production, transportation, logistics, storage and value addition can provide alternative employment and absorption of over half the youth with the best multiplier effect. As more people move from rural setting to urban location, more land will be freed for agricultural production. No bare Land Initiative Kisumu County Government should immediately launch an initiative dubbed ‘No Bare land’. Driving fromKericho County that teems with plantation fields to Awasi and finally Kisumu town reveals a huge contrast. That of underutilised land. That idle land should be filled with either trees or crops.

ALSO READ: Farmers demand pay from State

I believe Kisumu County should not have four sugar industries within a radius of 25 kms. Fact number 1, Sugar is a plantation crop and it is profitable and sustainable when grown on a large scale, hence the small scale farmer, waiting for 15-18 months for harvesting on one acre should be encouraged to diversify into fruit farming and horticulture where a marketing agency can help in exportation. Secondly, we need to move away from the mindset that Kisumu County has to grow sugarcane as its main crop. As we think of diversification, let us transform Miwani Sugar into a Dairy and water processing plant. Let us feed ourselves from what we produce internally. Kisumu County imports over 90 per cent of its milk. Let us find export and internal markets for newly introduced fruit trees and horticultural crops like guavas, avocado, chillies and even watermelons that grow so well in Kisumu. Let us start using waters from our rivers to do irrigation farming immediately. By just planting and increasing the acreage, we shall be empowering residents. Prof Nyong’o, this should start tomorrow. Engage us the youths immediately and bring stakeholders on board. We need to pull together for the betterment of our County.

– The writer is an Economist and Convenor-Kisumu County Youth Movement.

Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001265048/agriculture-best-bet-for-kisumu-county”

Public Service Excellence Awards (PSEA) Scheme

Official ceremony on the Public Servive Excellence Awards (PSEA) 2017, held at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC). Presentation of certificates by His Excellency, Deputy President Mr. William Ruto to Mr. Peter Owoko, ASDSP County Co-ordinator, West Pokot in the presence of Cabinet Secretary, Ms, Sicily Kariuki, Director Human Resource Development (HRD), MOALF Mrs. Catherine Nganga and National Programme Co-ordinator ASDSP Phoebe Odhiambo (Mrs).

Best Practices and Success Stories

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Agricultural Commodities prices for 31.07.2017

OLX starts mobile soil testing for right fertiliser use

By JAMES KARIUK

Posted Sunday, January 8 2017 at 15:51

Online advertising site OLX has started mobile soil testing in agricultural rich zones ahead of the planting season to provide the right mix of fertilizers bought through its platform. The tests establish the suitability of different types of fertiliser for given locations, said OLX country manager Peter Ndiang’ui. Farmers have been using fertilisers with little regard to the needs of their soils, distorting soil acidity and ultimately affecting crop production.

Mr Ndiang’ui said the right type of fertiliser will address the issues of increased soil acidity from wrong manure use that has seen production on the farms decline.  OLX has partnered with Dutch headquartered Soil Cares Ltd to conduct the test through a mobile soil testing lab comprising a truck equipped with equipment for analysing samples to determine the nutrient levels, deficiencies, acidity and the general health.

Previously, farmers would take samples to agricultural research centres and wait for days to get results. But now, it can be done in just three hours. The testing plan comes weeks after the online advertising site established farm input centres to help farmers’ access seeds and fertilisers bought through its platform.

It has opened two centres in Nakuru and Nyandarua dubbed Kilimo Smart OLX centres and expects to open more units in agro-rich zones. This is the latest agro-based product from the firm that is seeking a share of Kenya’s largest industry in a diversification plan for the company popular for connecting buyers and sellers shopping for clothing, electronics and vehicles.

“We rolled out a plan to set up Kilimo smart centres upon realising the key challenges farmers face in accessing farm inputs. Most of the inputs farmers use currently affect the soil fertility and over a period of time they realise a decrease in yields,” said Ndiang’ui.

Continuous use of the Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertiliser has compromised the quality of soil with the research findings released by the Ministry of Agriculture indicating that almost half of the Kenyan soil is not suitable for maize growing.

OLX has also signed a deal with Mavuno Fertilisers that will see farmers buy the input at a 15 per cent discount and Osho Chemicals—which will offer pesticides. The firm last year introduced an agriculture section that allows farmers to sell livestock, especially chickens, cattle, and fresh produce on the online platform. It was expected that lorries collecting farm produce would deliver inputs like fertilisers to farmers at no extra cost.

OLX has also signed a deal with Mavuno Fertilisers that will see farmers buy the input at a 15 per cent discount. To capture a larger share of the agro-sector, OLX recently introduced an SMS service to ease trading on farm produce and inputs because a huge chunk farmers did not have access to the Internet.