- Workers attempted to address the menace by using chemicals and setting traps but the methods proved futile.
- The net house is a safe method of fruit production that ensures maximum yields at minimal costs. The creativity applied promotes clean gardening that helps control weeds
- The farm is at times used as a resource centre for learners in Nyandarua and the surrounding counties.
- Nelly Nekesa, a scientist at Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation,–Lanet says net houses can be used to protect tender plants and fruits in the bed.
About 20 kilometres from Nyahururu town on the Ol Kalou road is Tabor-Hill Farm, an agriculturally rich zone west of the Abedare ranges.
We meet Philip King’ori, a manager who has been on the farm for more than a decade, alongside four fellow Tabor-Hill employees. He receives the Seeds of Gold team well and takes us round the compound, which is about 10 acres.
Tabor-Hill Farm has chickens, ducks, dairy cattle, sheep, goats, vegetables and many types of fruits, some ready for harvesting.
What surprises us is the netting house technology, a new method of growing fruits – indigenous pears to be precise – with little supervision. It protects the fruits against birds and wild animals.
“The net house is a safe method of fruit production that ensures maximum yields at minimal costs. The creativity applied promotes clean gardening that helps control weeds,” King’ori said.
“It uses organically made pesticides from bitter herbs that grow here, an initiative that has greatly promoted organic farming.” King’ori and the other farm workers use nets to protect the fruits from pigeons, doves and other birds.
“Our net houses enable us to see the fruits that are ready from a distance. This technology has worked miracles,” King’ori told Seeds Of Gold.
About 10 years ago, Tabor-Hill attempted to fight the birds in many ways, all of which proved ineffective.
“We used chemical repellents, set traps and even threw stones at the birds, but they got used to that. Occasionally, they would land on the farm in large numbers early in the morning or late in the evening when there was no one in sight,” he added.
VISIBILITY IS IMPORTANT
King’ori says he came up with the idea of the net house around 2010. He erected a wooden structure and had an ordinary net reinforced from the inside.
King’ori insulated the net with wire mesh from the outside, followed by wooden pillars that stood two metres apart.
“Visibility is important. Light should be allowed to penetrate the net house for at least eight hours a day. This ensures the fruits flourish,” he said.
King’ori adds that spraying chemicals never happens on the farm because most of the fruits and vegetables – except tomatoes – are never attacked by aphids. This saves on what would be used to buy herbicides and pesticides.