In Summary
  • Meat goat breeds include the Small East African Goat, Galla and Boer goats while dairy goat breeds include Saanen, Toggenburg, and Alpine.
  • There are many rodenticides with different trade names, some contain zinc phosphide and are used as baits while those that contain aluminium phosphide are used as fumigants mainly to fumigate the burrows and kill the moles.
  • According to the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture, Tephrosia is a host for rootknot nematodes and, therefore, it should be uprooted after controlling the moles if it was intercropped with crops but if on the hedge it can be left.
  • Alfalfa is a high-quality, palatable, nutritious plant widely used as forage in livestock diet.


Please explain how one can use the following as pesticides: Pepper, garlic, ginger and Mexican marigold.

Pepper, garlic, ginger and Mexican marigold can be used to make quality bio-pesticides. Bio-pesticides are normally made from plant extracts and are thus not toxic to humans or livestock, do not kill natural enemies of pests and are cheap and easy to prepare if the materials are locally available.

Pepper: Chop 500g of chilli, mix with five litres of water and leave for 24 hours or boil for it 20 minutes. Sieve the extract and add an extra five litres of water and an equal amount of soapy water to make 20 litres.

This is enough to spray half-an-acre. Use the correct ratio of chilli to water because high concentration may destroy the crop and avoid spraying on windy or hot weather.

Pepper or chilli is rich in capsaicin, which causes irritation of the digestive tract of insects and also repels them.

Garlic: Crush 2kg of garlic and leave in 20 litres of water for 24 hours, sieve and spray. This is enough for half-an-acre. Garlic is rich in diallyl disulfide, which acts as a repellent and is toxic to insect pests.

Ginger: You will need 50g of ginger rhizome, 12ml of soap and three litres of water. Grind the ginger to make a paste, mix with water, add soap, sieve and spray.

Ginger contains gingerone, shogaols and gingerols and acts as a repellent. Target pests are aphids, thrips and whitefly.

Mexican marigold: Intercropping marigold with your crops can help repel pests like aphids. The roots of marigold produce alpha-terthinyl, which helps to curb nematodes.

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



Kindly assist me to establish the problem with my 48-egg capacity incubator that I bought in 2013, which doesn't hatch eggs anymore.


Use of egg incubators is a good means of having more chicks as compared to waiting for the hen. If the incubator was working well and then it becomes faulty, kindly consult the company that sold you the machine or any other selling them for technical assistance.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.

I am currently in Laikipia County. I have an interest in goat keeping for meat and milk. What is your advice on the marketability of goat milk before I commit resources?


With the rise in human population and urbanisation, pressure on land is increasing. This means that land for practising agriculture is shrinking.

On the other hand, demand for food is rising. Goats require less space for housing, feed less compared to cows and fetch more money per litre of milk.

Meat goat breeds include the Small East African Goat, Galla and Boer goats while dairy goat breeds include Saanen, Toggenburg, and Alpine.

On marketing, it will depend on the volumes produced per day. If it’s small, you can sell in the neighbourhood. If the volumes are high, think of value addition and selling either through your own outlet in an urban area or get into an MoU with supermarkets.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.



I would like to start vegetable farming on four acres and I need a business plan to know how much I would be required to invest and the projected income. The only thing I have is water supply.

Joan Amallah

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