In Summary
  • Observance of critical moisture content (MC) for safe storage of food grains is a prerequisite for successful grain milling business.
  • Chia seeds are known for their enormous health benefits to human beings such as weight loss, reduction of blood pressure, richest plant source of Omega-3 fats (protects against arthritis and heart diseases) and control blood sugar (useful for diabetics management).

COMMERCIAL FARMING

My wife and I are keen to start commercial farming. We have a five-acre fenced farm in Kitengela (black cotton soil).

The farm is serviced with a three phase power line. We have commenced the process of drilling a borehole and the hydro survey report is almost complete. We need help in the following areas:

1. How do we plan our entire five acres for high value crops and poultry?

2. Which are the most favourable crops in terms of high returns given the climate and soil type?

3. What secondary crops can come in handy without interfering too much with the primary crops?

4. How do we go about with irrigation once the borehole is running, that is method and planning?

5. How do I effectively market the various farm produce?
Reuben Kisigwa

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For commercial purposes, you need to plan your piece of land effectively for maximum gains.

This requires sound technical advice on what to plant, where and what size of land is to be allocated to which crop. This can only be effectively done on site.

I recommend that you liaise with the Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University for further information and arrangement on how this exercise can be accomplished.

Sylvans Ochieng Ochola, Crops, Horticulture and Soils Department. ocholaochieng@gmail.com

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GROWING CROPS

I would like to start farming and would love the expertise of agriculture officers on which crops grow well in my area.

Pam

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Different crops require different agro-ecological zones. Unfortunately, you have not informed us the region where you want to grow your crops.

Please kindly provide us with the information and we will promptly provide the technical advice you need.

Seeds of Gold Team

Egerton University

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NEW PLANTING TECHNOLOGY

There is a new technology for planting seeds that does not require ploughing. This can be hired from Egerton University. How much do they charge? And can it work for a farmer in Machakos?
Samuel Nguti

The cost of hiring the machinery is Sh1,800 per acre. It is possible to hire the machine from Green Agro in Egerton University. However, the cost will be slightly higher because of the distance, since there is version factor depending on the distance per kilometre.

Sylvans Ochieng Ochola, Crops, Horticulture Department

ocholaochieng@gmail.com

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HATCHING EGGS

Kindly give me information on incubator technology, in particular, on what humidity and temperature are best for hatching eggs.

Fred Obimbo

Incubation of eggs takes 21 days. From 0 to 18th day, the temperature should be 37.8 degrees Celsius and humidity between 60 to 70 per cent and from 19th to 21st day, the temperature should be reduced to 37.5 degrees Celsius and humidity increased to 70 to 80 per cent.

It is important to note that the temperature and humidity setting of the incubator are highly dependent on the climatic conditions of the area you are operating in.

Hot humid areas like the Coast or Nyanza region will require lower temperatures (a degree lower than the above mentioned) and humidity).

Sophie Miyumo,
Animal Science Department,
Egerton University,
miyumo@incip.org

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I NEED MONEY FOR FARMING

I am Enoka.

I have three acres in Muhoroni, and I would like to start farming but my problem is I do not have money to start the business. Please can you advise on what to do?

You first need to identify the enterprise you want to engage in and from the expected profit margins, a range of credit sources can be explored.

Ideally, you may want to source credit from an institution that has special products for agricultural sector given that the returns are seasonal.

Agricultural Finance Corporation is one such institution and some of the farmers’ cooperatives or saccos are the best. It is critical though that you first get clear with your business idea, which will give you a picture of how much amount of money you need.

Jackson Langat, Agribusiness Department,

Egerton University

We are a fully registered community based organisation in Kaloleni, Kilifi County.

We are currently involved in commercial farming though in small-scale due to lack of appropriate farming inputs and seed capital.

We bought four acres where we intend to put up a grain storage facility and engage in serious farming.

Group members will be required to donate at least an acre each for the project. Currently, we have 33 members, which translates to 33 acres that we are sure will produce proper harvest. We require Sh500,000 to start the project.

Kindly advise us how best we can get money from your organisation.

Emmanuel Angore
Project coordinator

What never came out clearly is the specific crop or animal enterprises your group has interest in and whether you already have a viable business plan.

For a start, you must consult experts on which enterprises you should invest in, and come up with a clear roadmap (plan) towards the realisation of such a vision.

Once you have a feasible plan, you may approach any of the various financial institutions for credit or approach the county government, CDF and NGOs.

Our university is willing to partner with your group in the process of developing viable proposals for submission to grant agencies.

For more information and consultation, contact the Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils on jogendo@egerton.ac.ke.

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