In Summary
  • Seeds of Gold holds its seventh farm clinic that draws hundreds of eager farmers who return home a happy lot.
  • Keep your chicks in a good-working brooder especially for the first two weeks after hatching and ensure you give them all the requisite vaccinations.
  • Having you own vehicle saves you from exploitation by brokers and hired transporters.
  • Engagement between farmers and the experts has become more intense with the former now saying they are farming from a point of information. It affirms our commitment to scale the clinics to every county in the country.

Somewhere in the background of (Ahiti), Nyahururu, stood the Aberdare Ranges.

A cool breeze wafted from the mountains to the Ahiti grounds where Seeds of Gold held its seventh farm clinic last Saturday.

The event started few minutes after 8am and in attendance were hundreds of farmers and farming enthusiasts who started to stream at the venue as early as 7am, braving the morning chill.

Some came from Meru, others Baringo, Narok, Machakos, Kiambu, Nyeri, Nairobi and of course from the larger Nyandarua County all eager to interact with experts.

Ready to educate the farmers were experts from Elgon Kenya, Egerton University, SimbaCorp, Agri SeedCo, Ahiti-Nyahururu and Kalro, among others.

And the questions from farmers to the specialists were varied. John Njuguna, a farmer from Geta in Kipipiri, strode into Elgon Kenya stand, accompanied by his wife.

In his right hand was a bag containing an assortment of twigs, leaves, plant roots and surprisingly, pests.

“I farm apples; I have more than 250 trees, but pests and diseases are pulling me back,” he told Samuel Theuri, an agronomist at Elgon Kenya.

John Njuguna, an apples farmer from Geta in Kipipiri displays diseased leaves and twigs from his plants.

John Njuguna, an apples farmer from Geta in Kipipiri displays diseased leaves and twigs from his plants. Samuel Theuri, an expert agronomist from Elgon Kenya Ltd addressed the issues affecting Njuguna's crops at the farm clinic in Nyahururu. PHOTO | BRIAN OKINDA | NMG

After a brief examination, Njuguna was told his plants were under attack from varied pests and diseases that included white mealybugs, botrytis, root-knot nematodes, fungal mould and brown spot.

Besides use of pesticides, Njuguna was told to practice crop rotation, test his soil before planting and observe hygiene on the farm.

Lucy Kamau, a farmer from Ol Kalou asked why snails loved her vegetables and how she could curb them.

Theuri explained that snails love vegetables for nourishments but copper-based pesticides always eliminate them.

CONTRACT FARMERS

Peter Kinuthia, a farmer from Nakuru enquired why his pumpkins were rotting on the farm, and he was informed that they lacked calcium and water, besides being attacked by botrytis disease.

Prof Benard Towett from Egerton University had some counsel for Tabitha Ng’ethe, a farmer from Nyahururu whose bean crops were constantly ‘burnt’ by frost.

“Cultivate breeds that are adapted for the colder higher altitudes in which Nyahururu lies. At Egerton, we have developed a variety of beans which are suited for different ecological conditions,” he said.

He revealed an opportunity waiting for farmers. The institution is soon starting to contract farmers from across the country for mass cultivation of newly developed beans, sorghum and millet varieties.

Elgon Kenya Ltd's vet, Dr John Muchibi in a conversation with a farmer.

Elgon Kenya Ltd's vet, Dr John Muchibi in a conversation with a farmer at the farm clinic in Nyahururu. PHOTO | BRIAN OKINDA | NMG

Kennedy Kiplangat, a poultry farmer from Kabarnet in Baringo, asked why his chicks become droopy and die shortly afterwards.

Dr John Muchibi, a vet surgeon from Elgon Kenya informed him that he was not taking good care of them in the brooder.

“Keep them in a good-working brooder especially for the first two weeks after hatching and ensure you give them all the requisite vaccinations.”

Daniel Bogonko, a farmer from Narok, was at a loss that his cow had shown signs of heat months after he was sure it was in-calf.

“For more than four months, I thought my cow had conceived, then early this month, I was shocked to realise she was on heat again,” he said.

Page 1 of 2