In Summary
  • Selected seeds to be used for hydroponics should be without overgrowths and free of chemicals.
  • Although mangoes are spread throughout all feasible agro-climatic zones, they have relatively few major problems with pests and diseases.
  • Garlic does well in altitude of 500-2000m above sea level, average temperature of 24-30 degrees Celsius for bulb formation.
  • Majority of beef cattle in Kenya are owned by subsistence farmers and pastoralists.

HYDROPONIC FODDER AND PIG FARMING

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Seeds of gold magazine. It has given me a lot of useful information about farming. I would like more information on the following topics:

1. How to grow hydroponic fodder using maize and sorghum without mould, which can be a source of aflatoxins.

2. Best practices on pig farming.

Joseph Nguyo

Mouldy sprouts is mostly caused by the warm and moist environment created within the hydroponic unit which is conducive for fungi to flourish, poor hygiene conditions of the unit and sprouting trays and quality of the seeds.

Pigs feeding on hydroponic fodder in Mwiki.

Pigs feeding on hydroponic fodder in Mwiki. PHOTO | DENISH OCHIENG | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Consider the following to prevent mould; proper hydroponic unit hygiene by cleaning the unit and the trays following each harvest of sprouts.

Select seeds without overgrowths and free of chemicals. Disinfect seeds by soaking in diluted chlorine solution (similar to what is used to disinfect drinking water) for 2 hours to prevent mould/fungus growth.

Ensure proper ventilation to allow free flow of air to reduce moisture in air.

Sophie Miyumo, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University

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WHY MANGO YIELDS DROP (Continued from last week)

During the early development of the mango tree (in the first four years), a regular supply of compost and green manure can be provided to improve the foliar development.

During flowering, application of organic fertilisers (compost made of farmyard manure or other organic material) should be applied so that enough nutrients are available for fruit formation and fruit development.

Some 10kg of farmyard manure per tree, per year is beneficial.

In mature orchards (established fruiting trees), water is normally withheld from the end of the wet season until flowering. This period of low soil moisture is believed to encourage earlier and more synchronous flowering.

Watering mature trees
Irrigation is highly recommended from flowering until late fruit maturity. Some growers prefer to start irrigating after 50 per cent of the tree is in flower and at least 50 per cent of the flowers are open.

Other growers will start irrigating from the commencement of visible flower panicle development in an attempt to speed up the flowering and fruit setting process.

The amount of water will depend on tree size (canopy cover), evaporation rates and evaporation replacement rate. Irrigation frequency will depend on soil type (water holding capacity) and effective root depth.

You should cease irrigating a few weeks prior to harvest and it is not recommenced until flowering in the following season.

A mango farmer in his mango farm in Kerio Valley.

A mango farmer in his mango farm in Kerio Valley. PHOTO | STANLEY KIMUGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Use of chemicals

Although mangoes are spread throughout all feasible agro-climatic zones, they have relatively few major problems with pests and diseases.

The chemicals, for example, insecticides and fungicides used to spray mango trees will depend on the problem. Chemicals should be used as little as possible but as much as necessary.

Base your spray decisions on pest and disease monitoring and choose products depending on the pests/diseases present, state of the crop and resistance management strategies.

• Horticultural spray oils (petroleum or paraffinic oils) are also effective against whiteflies, aphids, scales, mealybugs and mites.

• Potassium soaps are soft options for small pests such as thrips, mealybugs, scales and whiteflies.

• Dimethoate, fenthion, malathion and labaycid are for fruit flies.

• Carbaryl, fenthion and thiamethoxam for mango seed weevil.

• Dicafol for mites.

• Anthracol and Kocide DF before and after flowering for anthracnose.

Spray Benlate before flowering and again three weeks later mango powdery mildew.

Prof Joseph Wolukau,

horticulture expert, Egerton University.
 
AGRICULTURE LOGISTICS BODY

I am a student at St Paul’s university taking a diploma in logistics and supply chain and my interest is agricultural logistics. What I wanted to ask is that is there is any professional body in logistics which I can join after completing my course on August and how l can join.

Also how can l get attachment after?

Martin Muasya

Other than just the professional bodies in logistics in agribusiness supply chain, there is a lot more that can be done in your area of study given that all forms of value addiction follow some form of supply chain; hence another important field of agribusiness called value chain analysis.

Perhaps your question serves as an insight to many professionals in agribusiness to come together under a strong umbrella body. Currently we have active discussions based on agribusiness value chain; we can get in touch through dickson@agfreshsupplies.com for further directives.

Dickson Otieno, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Development, Egerton University.

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SEEKING INVESTOR FOR BUSINESS PLAN
Kindly advise on how one can get an investor to fund an agribusiness project. I already have a business plan with me, with available 25 acres of land that is idle having already leased 5 acres for a start but unable to proceed on because of finances.

I have also already bought water pump and pipes for irrigation since the farm is near a never drying river.

Jimmy
It is interesting to note that you have always taken initiative to have things work for you. Your question up there is among the services we offer at AgriFresh Supplies; we have done the same for many clients and it has worked.

I suggest action points as follows:
1. Now that you have a business plan, you are in the right direction as it is often the beginning step to acquire credit. Most people often ignore it is vital.

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