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Daily Nation : February 15th 2014
SEEDS OF GOLD YOU AND THE LAW with Rosemary Mugwe Saturday, February 15, 2014 DAILY NATION 5 THE GREEN GOLD OF KISII» RESIDENTS FIND A NEW CHEAP WAY TO GROW WEALTH Families ditch coffee for profitable Napier grass Before you keep that livestock... Kenya continues to experience increased rural-ur- ban migration as people search for better livelihoods. With this influx, economic hardships, unemployment and food insecurity are obvious repercussions. As a solution many are opting to practice urban agriculture (poultry, horticulture/green houses/ garden- in-a-sack, or livestock keeping) as full time or part time jobs to boost their income. The Local Government Act mandates county gov- ernments to make by-laws on matters like the maintenance of the health, safety and well-being of the inhabitants of its area; for good rule and governance; and for prevention and suppression of nuisance. The Act allows penalties to be prescribed for breach of the by-laws. Urban agriculture falls under this category and it is, indeed, imperative to know what by-laws govern your county to be on the right side of the law. Remember, ignorance of law is no defence. The Nairobi County by-laws on urban agriculture prohibit: the keeping of any animal or poultry which cause nuisance to any resident in the neighbourhood; allowing hedges and trees to encroach and pose a danger to traffic movement; cutting trees without the council’s authority; cultivation of unoccupied or unenclosed lands including land belonging to private persons, government or local authorities by unauthorised persons; discharge of water from premises and obligates any person, who produces, carries, keeps, treats, disposes of waste etc with an exception to domestic household waste to obtain a permit and consequently dispose in a designated place. This waste includes agricultural waste such as empty pesticide containers and livestock manure. In Nakuru, the by-laws prohibit: depositing of soil, vegetation refuse, debris to any land in a township without lawful authority; keeping within the county urban area a game animal, reptile (other than a lizard), an ass, mule, ox, cow, goat, sheep or pig without written permission from the clerk; keeping of animals or poultry in a township area which are a nuisance or annoyance to residents in the neighbourhood; any animal, poultry or bird to wander on a street in such a manner as to cause obstruction or inconvenience to traffic and also disallows animals grazing within the county urban area except with the written permission of the clerk. The Kisumu County by-laws as they relate to urban agriculture prohibit anyone from throwing or depositing or causing to be thrown or deposited any dust, refuse, garbage, or any animal or vegetable matter in or upon any land other than the land of which he is in occupation, among others. Mombasa County by-laws obligate any person who rears or keeps or grazes any animal within its jurisdiction to acquire a permit. Such animals include cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chicken, turkey, duck and donkeys. A county government may, through its by-laws, prohibit or limit the undertaking of any activity and require an interested person to obtain a licence or permit from a specified authority by making a deposit of a certain amount of money or by executing a bond. Urban agriculture is undoubtedly a solution to food security and job creation in this country. Most of the by-laws came into force decades ago. Recent studies have shown that over 60 percent of urban households in Kenya practice some form of urban agriculture, and the question we should be asking is whether the existing legal framework is supportive and, if not, what amendments we need to reduce food insecurity. Send your legal questions on farming to email@example.com Soaring demand from dairy farmers and low cost of production win over residents BY PETER ANGWENYI taking. The lush green vegetation cascades over the hills providing a beautiful view from the roads that meander across the Gusii land. Three weather patterns add T to the beauty and productivity of Kisii County’s rich agricultural heritage. You might be surprised that the densely populated but ever-green Kisii highlands bank on Napier grass to meet its dairy needs. Although the region is famed for its bananas and stone-carving, Napier grass farming has for the past five years taken over nearly all the small parcels of land occupied by pyrethrum and coffee. The grass has colonised roadsides, riverbanks and terraces, thanks to its adaptation to a wide range of climatic conditions. Many small-scale farmers have switched to Napier grass farming to put food on the table. Most of these farmers grow the grass for commercial purposes. Once it is mature, they sell it to zero grazers. The farmers work closely with agricultural and livestock government extension officers to reap optimum output. Dairy farmers travel long distances in search of the grass, which they buy and transport back to their zero grazing units. Philemon Masara Nyabiba, a Napier grass farmer, says there is ready market for the commodity compared to coffee and pyrethrum. He is a zero grazer and a Napier grass grower who is a contact agricultural farmer for the local field officers. “It’s cost effective as once you cut it, you weed immediately and it matures within three to four weeks for the next sell. As a result you earn an income on a regular basis,” he says. Nyabiba, who attends ag- ricultural field days to advise budding farmers, says the methods of planting Napier have improved steadily with the help of the agricultural officers. “There is this tumbukisa variety, where you plant fourfeet wide and four feet deep. It gives high yields from a small he landscape is breath100,000 The annual demand, in tonnes, for Napier grass by farmers keeping animals in zero-grazing units in Kisii county 15,000 The average amount of money small scall Napier grass farmers earn every acreage, given the small plots in Kisii,” he said. Alfred Mwancha Juma, an- other farmer from Kisii town, has 16 head of cattle under zero grazing with Napier grass under nine acres. “The nine acres are not enough. I still go out there and buy some supplements from commercial farmers. I spend an average of Sh3,000 per day buying the grass. “I have three workers han- dling the grass and buying the supplements,” says Mr Juma. Napier is expected to gener- ate revenue to the Kisii County as its growers earn between Sh5,000 and Sh15,000 on every harvest. The grass matures in three to four weeks and requires manure and weeding in the period Samuel Ouru Mwaenga, a businessman and a farmer in Nyamira County, spends an average of Sh10,000 to buy the grass from commercial growers. Mwaenga, who has four head of cattle, has bought land for Napier grass growing. “The returns are very en- couraging. For high yields, you need to grow using Double Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertiliser and manure for better management and high yields,” he says. The farmers interviewed said contour planting yields more compared to the broadcasting method, adding that Napier grass farming involves minimal risks. “Planting along the roads and across the slopes helps control erosion. Its remains are turned organic mature,” he adds.
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