In Summary
  • Do you have any question or enquiry on agribusiness, marketing, logistics, processing, innovation, and technology? Our pool of experts from Egerton University will respond to your questions with proper advice

Poultry

Thanks for the good job. I want to venture into poultry farming, could you advise me on how to go about it?

Conrad Shiare

Thank you Conrad for your question. What type of poultry farming are you interested in? – Quails, Chickens (broilers or layers), Turkeys etc? Conduct a market survey to identify your potential customers and what product they are interested in i.e. eggs or chicken meat or even quails.

You will need some start-up capital to construct a house, purchase initial stock, feeders and drinkers.

— For more information on poultry farming please contact Dr Mary Ambula of Egerton University on m.ambula@egerton.ac.ke

Milling Plant

Thank you for Seeds of Gold. Thanks to your dedicated team, my Saturdays will always be bright.

I’m interested in starting up a milling plant in my area. It will be processing maize meal, dairy meal and chicken feed. I would like to know the availability and the cost of a machine that will be able to do this. Secondly I would like to get detailed information about the process of preparing the above especially adding minerals to the products and enriching them.

Edwin

Thank you Edwin for your question. To have a milling plant you require a three-phase power line and a steady supply of raw material. You may also need to consult an animal nutritionist to formulate the various rations for you.

— For more information on feed milling please contact Dr Mary Ambula of Egerton University on m.ambula@egerton.ac.ke

Mushrooms and strawberry

Thank you for introducing this very informative pullout in the Saturday Nation. I look forward to Saturdays just to get my copy. I would like to request for comprehensive information on mushroom and strawberry farming.

Nancy Dayo

— For comprehensive information on mushroom farming, contact Prof Nyokabi Wagara of Egerton University on inwagara@egerton.ac.ke. For strawberries contact seedsofgold@egerton.ac.ke and you will be given an extension officer who will take you through the steps to success.

Rabbit farming

I would like to thank you for the information you are giving us through Seeds of Gold. I am keen on starting rabbit farming, but I have no idea on how to start. Would you kindly give me some tips, such as on the best breeds to rear and how to take care of them?

Ann

Thank you Ann for your question. Rabbits are very easy to keep. They require very little space and are not difficult to feed. To keep rabbits you need to construct a raised house (hutches) first.

Several breeds are available e.g. Kenya White, New Zealand White or Chinchilla among others. You may want to visit the Rabbit Section at Tatton Agriculture Park (Egerton University, Njoro Campus) to get first hand information on how rabbits are kept.

— For more information please contact Dr Mary Ambula of Egerton University at m.ambula@egerton.ac.ke

Financing

I am a young Kenyan from a pastoralist community in Trans Mara. I would like to start a dairy farm. My biggest challenge is where to get capital, since the only thing that I have is land. How can I access financial assistance?

Thanks for your question I would advise you to seek financial assistance from Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) in Narok or in Bomet Town since you have land as the only resource, which may act as collateral.

In addition, being a young Kenyan, you need to form a youth group in your area and develop a workable proposal for dairy farming business so that you may benefit from the Uwezo Fund from the government. This is because capital to an individual in Kenya without collateral is a problem.

How many cows do you currently have whether local or improved breeds? If you have some, then you need to begin with it by constantly using Artificial Insemination to improve them so that within a few years you would be having better breeds of dairy cows and gain experience in various aspects regarding dairy farming through learning by doing approach.

— Evans Ngenoh, assistant lecturer; Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management, Egerton University. Email: seedsofgold@egerton.ac.k)

Macadamia and avocado

Thank you for the good information you share with us in Seeds of Gold. I want to plant macadamia and avocado on my two-acre piece of land. But accessing credit is my problem. Please advise.

James Karuna, Njoro

Thank you James for your question. I guess that planting fruit trees do require little capital resources which you can access from various financial institutions within Nakuru County. You can also approach the exporting companies that include Njoro Canning and other interested companies which may engage you though contractual services hence easing the burden of the required capital.

Furthermore, you can work on another crop or livestock enterprise on the two-acre piece of land that you find easy and cheap to operate as you accumulate and look for sources of finances to kick-start the avocado and macadamia enterprise. Finally, you can start with a small piece of land and expand with time towards covering the whole two acres.

—Evans Ngenoh

Lack of market

I am a horticultural farmer based in Machakos County. Mainly I grow mangoes, oranges and pawpaws. I harvest an average of three to five tons of each variety per season. The main challenge I get is lack of market for my produce as I have to accept the low prices offered by middlemen.

May Mutua

Thanks for your question. It’s very vital for farmers to get better and more sustainable share of the final retail price. As a fruit farmer, you must have unique selling points that can give better prices. This will require a consistent branding of what mangoes, oranges, and pawpaws agriculture is all about.

Moreover, this will have to be backed up by the ability to verify that it is labelled, quality assured and that it lives up to its promise every time. Furthermore, for explicit marketing support, there is a need to emphasis on developing cooperatives, farmer organisations, business associations, and entrepreneurships to capture and add value to your produce in order to overcome high marketing costs and to harness the market potential.

Finally, supporting the development of basic institutions and infrastructure within Machakos County would create an enabling environment for agribusiness, hence minimising information asymmetry along the agricultural product marketing chain.

—Evans Ngenoh

EDITOR: The questions on soil testing, organic farming and citrus fruits will be answered next week.

Crocodile farming

Please advise me where I can get information and assistance on crocodile farming, and also how much and from where to buy small crocodiles or their eggs.

Sam Chege

Chege, crocodile farming is practised in Kenya on a very limited scale. I would advise that you contact the Kenya Wildlife Service for more information. There is also a farm in Mombasa, Mamba Village, keeping crocodiles

— Bockline Bebe, Professor of livestock production. Emails: b.bebe@egerton.ac.ke and obebeb@yahoo.com

Hydroponic technology

I would like to contact Wachira Mwangi and Sam Mbugua for more information on hydroponic technology.

Nicodemus Bosire

I am a young upcoming dairy farmer in Uasin Gishu County. I keep five dairy animals, but my biggest challenge has been fodder for the cows. I would like to meet the innovative crew behind the hydroponic technology as I believe this is the solution to my enterprise. Their contacts will be of much help to me.

Joel Ruto

My name is Anthony and I am interested in hydroponic farming. Could you please put me in touch with the two gentlemen? Thank you.

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