Category Archives: News

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


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.

Governors converge for Intergovernmental Forum; Agriculture Sector

cs_sectorGovernors and stakeholders in the agriculture sector converged at the Sarova Whitesands in Mombasa, for the 2nd Intergovernmental Forum on Agriculture Sector, Monday.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mr. Willy Bett said the Intergovernmental Forum brought together a diverse range of value chain players across the agriculture landscape.

“This Forum also recognizes the progress made by the agriculture stakeholders in building a foundation for agriculture renaissance. Agriculture is an integral pillar of Kenya’s Economy directly contributing 30% to the GDP,” he said.

Migori governor called on stakeholders to support the sector, saying it employs about 75 per cent of the Kenyan population and forms a bulk of national revenue through agricultural produce.

Council of Governors (CoG) Deputy Chairman John Mruttu said Agriculture has the potential to deal with unemployment problem in the country. “Intra-Ministry, Inter Ministerial and Intergovernmental Coordination and Cooperation is needed for agriculture transformation and mutual accountability,”said the Taita Taveta governor.

On his part, CoG Chairman Peter Munya emphasised that youth engagement in agriculture was a key issue that needs to be addressed. He further assured that development partners were in full support of the National and County government’s collaboration in the agricultural sector.

The proposed consultation and cooperation mechanism for the agricultural sector was adopted during the meeting.

State bets on new pest-proof storage bags to reduce maize wastage

cs-pictureIn Summary

· Hermetic bags can store maize, beans and wheat for two years, making them disease and pest free for a longer time.

· The new bags were launched Wednesday after years of trials to test their efficiency before being rolling out to farmers countrywide.

Grain farmers will benefit from new storage bags, which do not require the use of insecticides to prevent weevils and other pests’ invasion that have for years seen millions of bags of the produce go to wastage.

The hermetic bags can store maize, beans and wheat for two years, making them disease and pest free for a longer time. This comes as a boost to Kenya’s food security. The new bags were launched Wednesday after years of trials to test their efficiency before being rolling out to farmers countrywide.

It is estimated that over three million bags of maize will be saved from going to waste once farmers adopt the new technology.“These bags are going to play a major role in curbing food wastage that results from post-harvest losses. It is a major step towards improving food security,” Agriculture secretary Willy Bett said during the launch.

The minister said the strategy for increasing food availability to feed the growing population is to ensure proper and better utilisation of food that is already produced. “In this respect, reduction of post-harvest loss is an important strategy to ensure food and nutritional security and improve farmers income in a sustainable manner,” he said.

The representative of manufacturers Bhubhinder Singh urged the government to abolish the 16 per cent duty charged on the bags to enable small-scale farmers to acquire them with ease.  “The cost of these bags is high because of the 16 per cent Value Added Tax. The government should remove this duty to enable small-scale holders to afford them,” said Mr Singh.

The Ministry of Agriculture through the Crop Management and Post-Harvest Unit, in collaboration with USAid-KAVES, Bell Industries, GrainPro Inc, Elite Innovations, Vestergaard and Agro-Z, have united to roll out the adoption of bags in the country.



Status of Agriculture in Africa

Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF 2016) held in Kenya

Ufugaji wa Kuku Kienyeji

ASDSP Value Chain Development Officer, Kericho county and Chairlady KECOPO discussing Local poultry production in Kenya

Japan and Africa team up to boost Agriculture

Efforts to improve food security and malnutrition need to be stepped up.

Friday August 26 2016

nafis-webIn Summary

· Japan and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations believe that Africa’s agriculture sector should be a catalyst for inclusive growth and improved livelihoods.

· Therefore, major effort should focus on making agriculture attractive and profitable for young people.

Boosting agricultural productivity and food security in Africa will require colossal collective efforts by African countries and their partners. Japan already plays a significant role in contributing to sustainable agricultural development on the continent.

Sub-Saharan Africa represents the greatest food security challenge in the world today with the highest prevalence of undernourishment near 25 percent, or almost one in every four people. By 2050, the population in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to exceed two billion, and even if food production grows as projected by about 170 percent, this would still leave some 120 million people undernourished. Clearly, efforts to improve food security and malnutrition need to be stepped up.

Yet, climate change effects, such as higher temperatures and extreme weather events will hamper food production in various regions. Countries acting alone cannot resolve these enormous challenges. Strong collaboration with other nations, international organisations, NGOs, civil society and the private sector will be key to finding sustainable solutions.

For FAO, Japan is an essential ally in promoting rural development and food security and nutrition worldwide. Japan is not only one of FAO’s major resource partners in Africa, it also provides the expertise of skilled Japanese specialists for various agricultural projects in the region.


Japan is also supporting FAO in building resilience in African countries, where threatening levels of food insecurity result not only from climatic hazards but also from ongoing internal conflicts. Civil unrest must come to an end to achieve food security and improving food security will in turn help build sustainable peace in Africa.

Japan and FAO believe that – with a predominantly young and rural population and over 11 million youth expected to enter labour markets over the next decade – Africa’s agriculture sector should be a catalyst for inclusive growth and improved livelihoods. Therefore, major effort should focus on making agriculture attractive and profitable for young people.

Africa’s future depends very much on the development of its rural areas.

Strengthening the capacities of poor farmers by providing them access to modern technologies and best agricultural practices will enable them to increase their agricultural output and income and contribute to rural economic growth.

In 2013, Japan committed to supporting African countries with $32 billion aimed at increasing agricultural production and productivity, especially for rice, and empowering farmers including through the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) initiative. Its aim is to double rice production in sub-Saharan Africa between 2008 and 2018 and disseminate the New Rice for Africa (NERICA) a high-yielding hybrid rice.

Another example of such cooperation is a closely related five-year $2.5 million project aimed at strengthening agricultural statistics in the CARD countries.

Holding the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Nairobi is strong proof of how determined Japan is to expand its partnership with African countries.

The conference takes place at a very important moment, as 2016 marks the first year of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. TICAD VI provides an opportunity for Asian and African nations, as well as international stakeholders such as FAO, to work together towards Africa’s sustainable development. In addition, the Initiative for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa (IFNA) will be launched during the TICAD VI. IFNA is an ambitious initiative that aims to bring African governments together to swiftly implement food and nutrition security policies and programmes..

José Graziano da Silva is the director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Post-harvest banana packaging saves 30 per cent losses

By Laban Robert

Proper banana post-harvest packaging with its leaves can save farmers three out of 10 fruits destroyed before reaching the consumer.

Vincent Oyaro, the chairman of Rigesa Youth Group, said that during transportation, farmers may lose more than 30 per cent weight to environmental agents and breakages, more so when ferrying to far markets. He attributes weight loss to environmental agents like strong sunlight as well as wind while cracking and bruising results from pressure when piled together.

“A banana from Kisii being taken to Mombasa, which is more than 700 km away, cannot fetch its expected cash if it is transported while exposed. Piling them together and handling during loading and unloading can cause damage of three out of 10 fingers, yet this can be avoided,” Oyaro said. Super fertilizer that add 10 kilos to banana yields.

The Nyamira County group, which supplies ripe, ripening, and plantain bananas to major town in Kenya such as Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Migori, among others sets down green leaves from the fruit stem.

They ensure all fingers are covered before tying the entire banana with sisal or barks of trees. Group earns six times from banana value addition

No losses

The all-round leaves will cushion the fingers against bruises and breakages during movement. The shrinking and bruising lead to further losses due to depreciated quality of fingers, the chairman said. “A banana that is wrapped in the leaves remains fresh for the two or three days it takes from Kisii to Diani, (Kwale County). It will only be exposed to brief weather agents for a few days while being sold,” he said.

An 80kg banana that could fetch between Sh800 and Sh1,200 can depreciate Sh600 and Sh900, depending on the town of sale if not protected. Chamber halves banana ripening days, doubles group earning.

Bananas are harvested from rural areas such as central and Nyanza regions before being transported to urban centres for ripening or plantain cooking.

Oyaro can be reached on +254710174733