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Aspirin solution reduces pest attacks in crops

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Scientists are now saying that spraying or watering crops with the painkiller Aspirin can increase the crops immune system and help fight bacteria, fungi, and viruses that have for ages troubled farmers. That would be sweet news for Kenyan farmers always eager to find a solution to these problems. A new study by the US Department of Agriculture, found that the use of an aspirin spray, which can be made at home, resulted in a 47 per cent reduction in blight in tomatoes. If confirmed, the study will aid Kenyan farmers who have been grappling with overuse of pesticides which have seen the target pests develop resistance. And with the cost of conventional pesticides being prohibitively high, majority of the farmers have spent a fortune…

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EU opens the 2016 release of the €13,000 ‘Farming by Satellite’ Prize

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Students and young farmers across Europe and Africa are invited once again to enter a major competition about how to use satellite technology in agriculture to improve efficiency and to reduce environmental impact. The €13,000 ‘Farming by Satellite Prize’ is an initiative of the European GNSS Agency and the European Environment Agency. It is sponsored by CLAAS, a leading manufacturer of agricultural engineering equipment, and crop protection experts Bayer CropScience. The competition ran for the first time in 2012 and again in 2014, attracting interest from 29 countries last time around. It includes a special prize for submissions that address the needs of farmers and growers in Africa. The aim of the competition is to promote the use of satellites in innovative agricultural practices that…

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How Manilla Farm defrauded farmers millions of shillings in heifer importation scam

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It was supposed to be a sweet offer. Farmers were to pay a deposit of Sh35,000 and get a cow that could produce 45 litres a day. For any dairy farmer, that was akin to winning a lottery. The Nairobi firm registered as Manilla Farm had put adverts in the newspapers and billboards in major towns promising to turn around Kenya’s dairy industry by getting cows from South Africa that were seven months pregnant. Eventually, a that would cost the farmer Sh280,000 after paying paying a monthly premium of Sh8,000 for three years in addition to a Sh11,270 insurance fee for each cow. “It was a very good offer,” recalls James Gitau who had ordered three heifers. Thus, Manilla Farm gave its victims the option…

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International markets warm up to Nakuru farmers’ multipurpose herb

Simon Andys the founder of Premier Seeds inspects basil in one of the greenhouses

A burgeoning European appetite for basil, a versatile aromatic herb in the mint family, has opened a window of opportunity for farmers in Nakuru County who are now earning up to Sh200, 000 a month in exports. Working with Premier Seeds Limited, a vegetable seed company, the farmers, who have traditionally relied on the overcrowded cereal farming, have now found a lifeline in a perennial herb whose multiple health and nutritional benefits has made it a hit internationally.<div> International buyers say East Africa meets a paltry 15 per cent of their demand for the herb even as markets continue to balloon following discovery of new uses of the herb. “The markets have expressed insatiable appetite for the herb. With our first farmers, we are producing…

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New AGRA book to address soil health

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A new book to help farmers and other stakeholders on soil health is set to be launched soon. The book, Going Beyond Demos, covers topics in soil health management shedding light on years of research coordinated by Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). “There have been so many demonstrations aimed at improving small scale farming in Africa. The next level should be towards realizing productivity,” explains Abednego Kiwia, a Soil Health Specialist at AGRA. “Healthy soils translate into improved yields and food security.” The book is a culmination of research findings borne out of interacting with farmers from 13 countries in Africa that AGRA covers. During  a recent ‘writeshop’  in a Naivasha hotel organized by AGRA scientists, researchers, policy analysts, environmental experts, food security…

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The 3rd Agritec Africa Exhibition

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TopFarmer are Proud to be the 2016 Media Partners of 3rd Agritec Africa exhibition in Nairobi! The exhibition will be held in Nairobi at the Kenyatta International convention Center on the 15th, 16th and 17th of June and is organized by the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, and Radeecal Communications. More than 100 participating companies and 8000 visitors are scheduled to attend with exhibitors from countries such as India, China, Pakistan, U.A.E, Saudi Arabia. The theme of the exhibition will be “Explore the Most Emerging Market in the Globe”. For More information, visit http://www.agritecafrica.com

Watermelom farming

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BY NDERITU KAMUNYA. You can earn upto Sh300,000 in three months from one acre of watermelon. This is from a yield of 20tons @20 per kg earning you almost Sh 400,000. What matters is how you handle the watermelons when harvesting and while transporting to the market. If not properly handled, spoilt watermelons will indeed reduce your income. The cost of production is estimated at Sh100,000 per acre. Watermelon is planted directly from seeds. Although other people prefer planting them on nursery then transferring the later. It all comes to your own decision. There are several varieties that are suitable in Kenya. They include: Sukari F1 Hybrid- this averages 7kgs per fruit and is very popular due to its size and sweetness. Early scarlet F1.…

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Growing sorghum as fodder and cash crop

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Before the onset of the oncoming rains, many farmers, especially those keeping livestock, had a hard time getting fodder to feed their animals, having exhausted all their pastures and stored fodder. This lack of feed led to a decrease in milk production and less income for farmers. It is not only feed for livestock that is in short supply when the rains are inadequate, even food for people decreases. Farmers have abandoned traditional food crops that could grow even with less rain. Such crops could withstand pests and even diseases. In view of the changing weather patterns, it is such food crops that people can turn to ward off food shortages and famine. Farmers need to change their attitude and start growing drought resistant crop…

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MAKE A FARM PROFIT COME BACK BY FARMING CUCUMBERS

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By NDERITU KAMUNYA   Many Kenyans in urban areas appreciate meals with cucumber.  This is a vegetable crop that belongs to the cucumbitaceae family and is a popular vegetable crop cultivated all around the world. Cucumber plant has a climbing or trailing habit. The tender cucumber can be eaten raw or with salt in salad. It can also be used in daily cooking. Cucumber seeds can be used in oil extraction. There are three commercial varieties that are available. These are: Japanese long green.  Poinsettee Straight eight. CLIMATE CONDITIONS REQUIRED FOR CUCUMBER FARMING. The cucumber crop requires a moderate warm temperature and grows best at a temperature between 20c and 24c.  It is not suitable for adverse weather conditions. SUITABLE SOIL FOR CUCUMBER FARMING. Cucumber…

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How to grow Broccoli for immediate cash

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Farmers are fast adopting broccoli farming in Kenya as more people become conscious of their diets and embrace healthy eating habits. In the retail market, an average-sized head of broccoli retails at about Sh50. This means that farmers get as much as Sh25 for the same head. The income generating potential of this vegetable, coupled with the rising demand for the same is enough to make broccoli farming a worthy venture for any agripreneur. Generally, broccoli grows well in cool weather. The vegetable also grows well in well-watered and fertile soils. Additionally, it requires at least six hours of sun every day. In Kenya, Broccoli grows well in central Kenya, Rift Valley, parts of Eastern and Western regions. Farmers are advised to grow broccoli in…

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