Letters to the editor: Where you can grow kiwi fruit and all its needs

Monday May 30 2016

The kiwi fruit.

The kiwi fruit. It is a temperate fruit which can do well in the temperate regions of Kenya like Central, Western highlands, Central Rift Valley among others. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GROWING KIWI
My query is in regard to kiwi farming. What are the weather requirements for this crop and specifically which areas in Kenya would the fruit do well?

Also what fertiliser is the best for the fruit and when should it be applied? 
Rachel Nduta

Kiwi is a temperate fruit and it can do well in the temperate regions of Kenya like Central, Western highlands, Central Rift Valley and others.

It can grow in a wide range of soils provided they are well-drained and have pH of 5.0 and 6.5.

Exposure to a lot of fertiliser results to burning of the roots, therefore, it is advisable to use compost manure.

It is a shallow rooted crop, therefore, requires frequent irrigation.

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

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ALL ABOUT POULTRY FEEDS INGREDIENTS

I am a regular reader and a farmer based in Trans-Nzoia County, specifically interested in poultry farming. Recently, I went through your article on feeds formulation for chicks, growers and layers, which was very informative and educative.

Please I will appreciate if you can give me more details on the following information:

a) Are feeds ingredients such as maize, sunflower and omena ground separately and later mixed in a drum or all ingredients are mixed together and crushed?

It is better to grind ingredients separately then mix for ease of estimation of quantities to include in the final ration and possible adjustment.

b) What are the uses and sources of the following ingredients in respect to feeds formulation.

1) Trytophan

2) Lysine

3) Methionine

4) Theonine

These are essential (limiting) amino acids, which cannot be synthesised in the animal’s body, and therefore, they must be provided in feeds.

The best sources include products of animal origin and amino acid premixes.

5) Coccidiostats

These are antiprotozoal agents acting against coccidian that attack the intestinal tract of domestic birds and cause enteritis and bloody diarrhea. They are available in agrovets in the country?

6) Toxin binder

7) Mycotoxin binder

They are mineral and organic acids mixtures that bind toxins and inhibit action of moulds in feeds.

8) Zinc bacitracitrach

9) Premix amino acids

10) Lime (bone meal)

They are used as sources of calcium in livestock feeds.

c) Is it possible to make sunflower cake, cotton cake and wheat pollard locally from raw ingredients of sunflower, cotton and wheat respectively?

d) What feed ingredient is the ground maize cobs? Is it the same as maize germ?

The maize cob is a byproduct of the maize crop and consists of the maize ‘ear’ without grains and husks.

This is different from maize germ, which is a by-product of maize ‘grain’ processing for oil extraction. The germ is of higher nutritive value than the cobs.

Olivier Kashongwe,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.

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GROWING PASSION FRUITS AND TOMATOES
I am planning to invest in passion fruit and tomatoes. Kindly advise on the economic benefits of these two products. I intend to put up about half-an-acre of passion fruit and another portion for tomatoes.

What would this translate into in terms of money?
E. Andefa

Both tomatoes and passion fruits generate good revenue, hence are viable business ventures.

However, the most important aspect of any agribusiness is to form a practical business model that will see you reap benefits following your investment.

Despite the fact that tomatoes are used in almost every household, good revenue depends on yield and quality of the fruits.

A kilo of tomatoes currently goes for between Sh50 and Sh100. One acre can produce between 30 - 35 tonnes.

Nevertheless, market survey has to be done to avoid production when there is a flood of the produce. Tomatoes do well in relatively warm areas that receive adequate rainfall.

Cold weather conditions reduce yield. Passion fruits, on the other hand, are the third most common fruits in Kenya.

This means the fruit is popular with a ready market. Prices per kilo range from Sh70-Sh100. Contract farming is also an option for fetching better prices and guaranteed market.

For contract farming, the prices per kilo for tomatoes can rise to Sh150. The cost of production per kilo for both crops ranges from Sh30-Sh35, at least according to our experience.

This is rather dynamic and depends on many other aspects of business.

For more details on market access, business modelling and business plan developments, kindly email Dickson on [email protected]
Dickson Otieno,
Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management, Egerton University.

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I WANT TO KEEP DAIRY COWS AND GOATS
I would like to keep three to four milk cows and good breeds of goats and sheep in Ugunja, Siaya.

I need your help to identify the breeds that would do well without zero-grazing method as we don’t have very reliable and dedicated workers in this area.

I would also like to know where I can buy what you would suggest and at what ages. The land is about six acres, I have piped water and electricity.
Arthur Omondi 

Dependable manpower or farm assistants remain the biggest challenge, especially to the small-scale farmers.

Dairy farming in your area should be a stable investment considering ready market for milk.

Despite this, it is faced with other challenges amongst management and feed availability. With good planning, however, you are able to manage your daily farm activities.

If you plan to go open grazing, crossbreeds for the dairy cattle are the best. They are better placed with reference to ticks, tsetse flies and feed challenges.

Goats require minimum capital and very little space to start. For sheep, go for a cross breed like Dorper, which is renowned for good performance in tropical climate being that it is a crossbreed between the Black-headed Persian and Dorset Horn breeds.

Goats for sell at the annual Kimalel Goat Auction

Goats for sell at a past annual Kimalel Goat Auction, in Baringo County. PHOTO | CHEBOITE KIGEN | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In addition, this breed is hardy, gives quality meat and has faster growth rate compared to indigenous sheep breeds.

At this point, however, it is difficult to tell if you want to venture into dairy goats rearing or keeping goats for meat.

Generally, all these animals require quality feeds. Provide feeds rich in energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre and water.

Protein-rich fodder trees will also be necessary if going for dairy goats.

Visit the government agricultural training institutions such as Bukura College to source good animals. Always involve a livestock expert when going to purchase your foundation stock.

Felix Akatch Opinya,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.

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WORMS HAVE INFESTED MY ARROWROOTS
I started farming upland arrowroots in January. The crop seems to be doing well, from the appearance of the leaves.

I was advised to apply ash to lower the pH to prevent infestation of the worms.

Last week, I decided to find out what is going on under the soil so I uprooted one plant and I spotted an eight-inch long worm.

I am so worried these worms are going to wreak havoc on my investment. Please advise me on how to eliminate these worms.
Daniel

Generally, arrowroot is not known to suffer from pest infestation apart from diseases.

Arrowroot leaf roller is a sporadic pest that has been reported in some regions where the crop is grown.

If the worms you have seen on your farm have so far not caused physical damage to your crop, then you should not be worried as they are likely to be beneficial than harmful.

Moreover, if the worms are about eight inches long, they are likely to be earthworms and, therefore, you should not be worried.

Sylvans Ochola,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

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AGGRESSIVE WEED
Below is a photo of weeds that are all over my coffee farm. I have looked for insecticides to deal with it in vain. Please suggest what I can use.
Isaac Karanja

Bracken fern (pictured), is a vigorous and

Bracken fern (pictured), is a vigorous and aggressive weed that spreads rapidly due to strong underground stems.

Bracken fern is a vigorous and aggressive weed that spreads rapidly due to strong underground stems (rhizomes).

Thus, attempts to control it using most contact herbicides is less likely to offer meaningful results.

Glyphosate based herbicides such as Roundup Turbo or Touchdown Forte are effective in controlling the weed.

Follow-up sprays should be done to destroy the fronds and the rhizomes, and thus complete weed control.

However, care should be taken to avoid spray drifts to coffee leaves and other tender green parts of the crop during spraying.

Sylvans Ochola,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.