Pray tell, where can I get professional farmhands with passion for the job?

FARMHAND HEADACHE

I am a farmer in Nairobi north bordering Kiambu County. We currently have dairy cattle and kienyeji chicken.

We have been dairy farmers for over 15 years now and the biggest challenge has always been feeds (expense and the lack of it sometimes).

Lately, another challenge presenting itself is lack of good farmhands which is crucial to this business . I was wondering if I could get help on this matter because at this point we feel like abandoning the trade altogether.

I would also like help in mechanising the farm for better output (better chaff cutter, milking machine, etc.). I would also like to seriously delve into crop farming as this is less time consuming compared to dairy farming.

I am particularly interested in herbs (sage, dill, coriander, mint) and strawberries

Samuel 

Farm hands are a problem in most areas, however you can minimise this problem by selecting farmhands who are interested in the work and they have a passion for agriculture.

In addition, you can put them under contract. Secondly, you can contract a service of a professional who can do basic training for your farm hand.

This training will serve as a basic as you train them on how you like things to be handled in your farm. On mechanisation, you can contact Engineer Nasirembe on 0733812953 of Kalro. High value crops such as herbs and strawberry are a very profitable venture.

Muriuki Ruth Wangari, Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University

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IRRIGATION TRAINING

I am in need of an irrigation expert.

Ann Maina

Please contact Engineer Nasirembe on 0733812953 of Karlo. He is an agricultural engineer specialising in irrigation.

Muriuki Ruth Wangari, Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University

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BRACCHIARIA SEEDS

Kindly advise me on where I can get brachiaria seeds for planting.
Joe Karugu

Sourcing for fodder nowadays poses a big challenge for many dairy farmers. Brachiaria grass is however offering solutions in terms of increasing milk production and feed security for livestock.

The grass is drought-tolerant, good for grazing (fast recovery after grazing), can be baled as hay, highly palatable, nutritious and easy to digest.

fbimg2 Pray tell, where can I get professional farmhands with passion for the job?

A man weeds brachiaria grass. The grass is drought-tolerant, good for grazing, can be baled as hay, highly palatable, nutritious and easy to digest. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

As DairyCloud, we deliver farmers various quality inputs to support resilience in dairy farming. Please write to [email protected] for booking and delivery of the certified seeds.

Felix Akatch Opinya, Department of Animal Science, Egerton University

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CURBING MOLES

Please advise me how to curb moles. They have invaded my potato plot with vengeance.
Muthoni Ndungu

You can try a number of ways to curb this problem. One, you can trap the moles by using wire noose. Second, you can use rodenticides which are available in agrovets.

If you have cattle, mix the cowdung and pepper and place them in the burrow holes and burn them to smoke them out.

Also pour fermented cattle urine on the burrow holes that has a stinging smell to and keep them away. For more detailed information, please refer to Seeds of Gold of April 11, 2015.

Hezekiah Korir, Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University

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BEANS FARMING

Iam Riachard and I am interested in venturing in beans farming. The farm is located in Mwatate Taita-Taveta County and is about 10 acres.

My questions are:

What is the main challenge in this type of farming?

There are various challenges in bean production which include weed control, pest and disease management, prevailing market price (determined by demand-supply needs).

What pests and diseases usually affect beans?

The main pests of beans include: bean seed fly, white fly, bugs, flower thrips, flower or blister beetles, cut worm, bean fly, aphids,stripped bean weevil, leaf miners, leaf hoopers, spider mites pod borers among others.

fbimg3 Pray tell, where can I get professional farmhands with passion for the job?

A woman works in a bean farm. Bean farming is a profitable venture as long as you get constant market and the timing of your crop should be well scheduled such that you don’t produce when there is glut in the market. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Main storage pest is bruchids. Common diseases of beans include: Common blight (Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. phaseoli), Fusarium root rot (Fusarium solani f. sp. phaseoli), Rust (Uromyces appendiculatus var. appendiculatus), Anthracnose (Colletotrichum lindemuthianum), The bean common mosaic virus (BCMV), Angular leaf spot (Phaeoisariopsis griseola), Halo blight (Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola), Powdery mildew (Erysiphe polygoni), and Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.), among others.

I dug a borehole, so I have no water issues. What is the yield per acre of beans, for example, the rose coco type?
The minimum yield you can get as long as all the other factors are held constant is 400kg (approximately 4.4 90-kg bag) and maximum yield is 1200 kg.

What should I do to prepare to venture into this farming? Is it viable? Is the market for beans good? I have not done a soil sample, but have planted beans on small scale and were very healthy. Should I carry out a soil sample? And finally, what type beans are the best for agribusiness?
Bean farming is a profitable venture as long as you get constant market and the timing of your crop should be well scheduled such that you don’t produce when there is glut in the market.

A good example of a constant market is schools/ institutions and hospitals. In terms of financial preparation, it will cost you approximately Ksh20,000, though this amount will vary with weather or not you are hiring land, labour cost in the area and cost of inputs (seeds, fertilizers and other agro-chemicals).

It is always advisable to do a soil sample at least every year so as to maximise on fertiliser application and the pathogen status of your soil. All rose cocos are marketable all over Kenya.

Muriuki Ruth Wangari, Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University

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BEST SHADE NETS

My home is in Lari, Kiambu County, and I am planning to venture in fodder production, mostly for home use, which is the best between shade nets and UV polythene to construct the production unit?

I’ve read and viewed lot of materials related to hydroponic fodder and have decided to do it
Daniel K. Njoroge

The best material of constructing a production unit is UV polyethene. This is because, polyethene has an advantage of retaining heat thus faster growth of your crop.

fbimg4 Pray tell, where can I get professional farmhands with passion for the job?

A young man walks past mosquito nets used to protect cultivated vegetables. The best material of constructing a fodder production unit is UV polyethene. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

However, you will need to constantly disinfect or fumigate your production unit so as to reduce on fungal infections. Fungal infection is a major challenge in the hydroponic production in self-made units.

Muriuki Ruth Wangari, Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University

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QUALITY POTATOES

I am looking for potato seeds. Could you please help me with contacts of a quality seller of potato seeds?
Farmer

You can get good quality potato seeds from Karlo-Tigoni and ADC farm Molo.

Muriuki Ruth Wangari, Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University

Send your questions on agribusiness, marketing, logistics, processing and agricultural innovations to: [email protected]

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