In Summary
  • Using irrigation makes farming a great venture since you can farm all year round. With proper management of irrigation, you will be able to achieve high water use efficiency.
  • To equip the borehole, you will have to approach another contractor, who deals with borehole installation
  • Thereafter, it is advisable that you work closely with the local government agricultural extension officer, who will advise on the best suitable crops and crop patterns for good business in your area.

I WANT TO DRILL A BOREHOLE

I am looking forward to starting irrigation farming using borehole water in Buuri sub-county in Meru. I have a red soil farm approximately five acres with a small slope on the Northern side.

I am not an experienced farmer because the area is almost semi-arid and it does not rain most of the time. I have a hydrogeological and geophysical report for a borehole I am to drill. My questions are:

a) What are the requirements for borehole tools and equipment for drip commercial farming?

(b) What crops, fruits and vegetables are suitable for commercial farming in the area?

(c) Which financial institutions can finance drilling of a borehole? Supply contact

Mohamed Salim

Using irrigation makes farming a great venture since you can farm all year round. With proper management of irrigation, you will be able to achieve high water use efficiency.

You can also visit your sacco or bank for financial support for the venture. Now, to drill a borehole, you will need to have the following:

(1) Hydrogeological survey report, which you already have hopefully from a registered hydrologist.

(2) A National Environment Management Authority (Nema) permit.

(3) Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) drilling permit.

Then approach a contractor who must be registered with the National Construction Authority as a driller, with proof of tax compliance and adequate equipment plus key personnel.

You can visit NCA website; (http://nca.go.ke/search-registered-contractors/) to confirm the contractor is registered.

They will drill and after completion, issue you with a Borehole Completion Record (BCR) from WRMA that details the borehole.

Some of the details on BCR are: Borehole profile, tested yield, borehole depth, pumping water level and static water level.

To equip the borehole, you will have to approach another contractor, who deals with borehole installation, with the following information;

BCR, supply head required (height of the storage tank from the borehole), the availability and source of power. After installations are done, testing will be done after which you will receive a detailed operation and maintenance manual.

Once you have that, you will need a detailed technical irrigation design to ensure an efficient system. For that, you can consult an agricultural engineer with details about your farm, who will advise you further on irrigation system design, layout and installation.

Or probably you can purchase a drip kit, which is a complete-packaged set, and request the supplier for technical assistance.

Thereafter, it is advisable that you work closely with the local government agricultural extension officer, who will advise on the best suitable crops and crop patterns for good business in your area.

Samuel Muhoro Kinyanjui,
Department of Agricultural
Engineering,
Egerton University.

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WHERE CAN I SELL MORINGA?

I want to know where I can sell moringa leaves and how much a kilo goes for?

Phillip Otieno (Busia)

Marketing and utilisation of moringa leaf powder

Like any other processed food product, processing, packing/packaging and selling of moringa powder should follow the tenets outlined by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs).

In the case of moringa powder, the product can attract premium prices when standard practices before marketing are followed.

Each package of moringa leaf product must be legibly labelled to show: Name of product, net content, name and address of producer, country of origin, lot/batch identification number or code, instructions for use, production date and nutritional information (optional).

In Kenya, certified producers of moringa leaf powder sell their products at a premium price in supermarkets and other retail shops.

The price of moringa leaf powder depends on whether it is conventionally or organically produced, processing and nature of packing.

Organic moringa powder attracts higher premium price compared to conventional products. For a 100g of organic moringa powder, the price range is varied depending on the producer but could range from Sh200 to Sh450 or more.

Conventionally, produced leaf powder could be sold for as low as Sh50 for a 100g pack.

It is advisable to consume the powder within six months. This is because in storage, the protein and mineral contents are preserved for up to six months, whereas a loss of up to 50 per cent of vitamins can be reached after six months of storage.

Once the container or package is opened, the leaf powder should be consumed quickly (within one week) since its water content will increase and it will be exposed to microbial contamination.

For this reason, it is advised to package leaf powder in rather small containers. This is because the powder strongly attracts moisture and the product can reabsorb humidity during or after milling.

Marketing of moringa powder should not be a hindrance to its production because it is a nutritionally valuable plant.

Apart from the leaf powder, Moringa oleifera leaves, which are rich in nutrients, can be cooked and consumed as leafy vegetables.

Isaiah Aleri,
Department of Crops Horticulture and Soils. Egerton University.

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GROWING SPIRULINA

Please furnish me with all the information on spirulina, availability and contacts, production and usage of it.
Kamanu

Spirulina is algae, which grows naturally in mineral rich alkaline lakes. It is a medicinal plant which is fast-maturing and rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals.

Spirulina cultivation in Kenya is being carried out in Dunga beach in Kisumu. There is also a farmer doing it in Gilgil.

Spirulina requires light, temperatures of 25°C and above and alkaline water. Production of spirulina can be done in the open field or indoors like in a greenhouse, in a tank or pond.

The water used in the growing of spirulina should be clean, free from any contaminants. Therefore, to start spirulina farming, you will need a tank, pond or a greenhouse, clean water and substrate (seeds).

You will also need salt to add to the water. After mixing the seeds with the water, you will need to keep turning the spirulina as it has long strings and breaking them encourages faster growth.

Harvesting starts 7-14 days after planting. After harvesting, you have to remove the excess water. Drying is then done as they are highly perishable.

Products include spirulina powder, capsules and is also used in the cosmetic industry.

Health benefits

• Prevents cancer
• Helps in growth of stronger hair and nails.
• Detoxification — gets rid of toxins from the body.
• Boosts energy
• Weight loss
• Anti-ageing properties- the powder can be mixed with water and applied as a face mask for 15 minutes.
• Boosts immune system especially for HIV patients.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture, and Soils, Egerton University.

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PAPAYA SEEDS

I need pawpaw/papaya hybrid seeds.

Prince Breezy, Mogotio

Papaya hybrid seeds are available from Royal Seed Company. They have Red Royale F1, Sinta F1 and Vega F1.

Contact them on info@khs.co.ke or 0780 884087

Carol Mutua
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University

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STRAWBERRY SEEDLINGS

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