For Online E-newspaper
Daily Nation : February 15th 2014
2 SEEDS OF GOLD Nakuru bets big on crop value addition BY FRANCIS MUREITHI firstname.lastname@example.org Nakuru County government has set aside Sh120 million for reviving the struggling pyrethrum growing. Of this, Sh20 million will be for buying 10 million seedlings to be distributed at no cost to farmers. Governor Kinuthia Mbugua said on Thursday his govern- ment had given priority to enterprises that would help generate wealth for residents. “Pyrethrum is very high in the county agriculture priority because I believe it is capable of employing thousands of our jobless youths,” said Mr Mbugua. A the same time, he said his government was talking to investors from Nairobi to set up a potato processing factory Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua in Kuresoi so that farmers from the area and neighbouring Molo district could get higher returns from their harvests. The two districts are among the top producers of potatoes and pyrethrum in the country, but farmers earn peanuts from their produce partly due to exploitation by middlemen and glut during harvests. Investing in value addition will correct the problem. Saturday, February 15, 2014 DAILY NATION NEWS STAND BROKERS BUY FARM PRODUCE AT THROW- AWAY PRICES AND SELL IT AT MUCH HIGHER PRICES Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto PLEASE JOIN ME» HE HAS SUPPLIED THE WAMBUGU APPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD A high demand, but not enough apples to match Mr Peter Wambugu at his farm in Ihwa village, Nyeri County. Photo JOSEPH KANYI | NATION home where he worked all week apart from Sunday. “The work was hard but I was able to save enough to continue with my education,” he recalls. The father of four says he devel- oped a passion for fruit farming as a farmhand. One day, he overheard people talking about some species of trees in the Aberdare Forest, a few kilometres away from their home, which bore very sweet fruits that resembled apples. On average, they are bigger than ordinary apples. One weekend, he went looking for the trees, and cut several branches, which he carried home. He grafted the branches with a few apple trees that he had grown in his father’s farm, not knowing that would be the conception of his much-sought after apples. After the first harvest, word Farmer who created his own apple variety says he’s overwhelmed by orders a worried man. He has an order to supply 10 containers of apples to a fruit company in the United States and a similar amount to another firm in the United Kingdom. But his 1,000 apple trees cannot meet such a demand — plus the many other orders he has. He now needs help. Can other farmers in the country get into apple farming? “I am actually getting worried as F I am unable to meet the demand for this fruit. I wish more farmers could BY BONIFACE MWANGI @bonifacemwash email@example.com ruit farmer Peter Wambugu is take up horticulture so that we can meet market demand,” says the farmer from Tetu, Nyeri County. He adds: “There is a ready mar- ket for the fruit. All we need to do is plant more apple trees and harvest as much as we could,” he says. Mr Wambugu harvests twice a year, gleaning 700 apples from each of his 1,000 trees. During the second harvest, he gets half his first. The budding farmer says that when he planted this new variety of apples, he never anticipated demand would be this high, even from Western countries. The 57-year-old Wambugu, after finishing his A-levels, found a job as a farmhand at a neighbour’s started spreading about Wambugu’s extra sweet apples. His fruit, which takes only nine months to mature, attracted the attention of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (Kari), who came for a few samples of his seedlings. After some time, they endorsed his efforts by naming the new apple variety after him – Wambugu Apple. It was then that he planted the 1,000 trees he currently owns. Mr Wambugu says he uprooted all his coffee and tea bushes to create space for the apple trees which, he says, fetch more than the two cash crops ever did. After his first harvest, he quit his job and decided to concentrate on his enterprise. An apple from his farm goes for between Sh50 and Sh100. Although he has sold his seed- lings to as far as Uganda, The DRC and Denmark, he says demand for the Wambugu Apple is far from being met. “More people need to get into this business,” he pleads. COLLABORATION NO MORE RAW SALES FOR MAIZE, POTATO FARMERS The Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology has entered an agreement with the Bomet County government to train farmers on value addition. The agreement was signed by Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto and JKUAT Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mabel Imbuga. The crops targeted include sorghum, mushroom, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, cactus, sisal, tea and bananas. Mr Ruto pledged to work with public universities to improve the quality and value of produce. The farmers will be trained on entrepreneurship to effectively manage their harvests. ENTERPRISE NEW PROJECT TO ATTRACT YOUNG KENYANS TO FARMING One of the country’s leading agricultural firms, Amiran Kenya Limited, has launched a campaign to woo young people into farming. Through the “Amiran Next Generation Farmers Initiative” the firm is donating farming kits to over 1,000 primary and secondary schools. Three years ago, the firm launched AgriVijana loan scheme with the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. The scheme provides a loan of up to Sh358,344 to a group or individuals to buy a kit comprising two green houses, a drip irrigation system and 400m of open field, a water tank, plant support system, fertiliser and a nursery set. BIOTECH TECHNOLOGY SPREADING FAST IN POORER COUNTRIES At least 18 million farmers in 27 countries in the world planted biotech crops last year, reflecting a three percent rise or additional five million farmers. In a report released on Thursday, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri–Biotech Applications (ISAAA) said global biotech crop hectarage increased from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to over 175 million hectares last year. The US tops the list, with more than 90 per cent or 16.5 million of farmers planting biotech crops being poor small scale holders. “Accumulated hectarage of biotech crops planted worldwide to date stands at 1.6 billion hectares or 150 percent of the total landmass of China,” said Clive James, the ISAAA founder and chairman.
February 14th 2014
February 16th 2014