My journey with Seeds of Gold

Saturday February 18 2017

John Wambugu, an agronomist at Wambugu Agricultural Training Centre in Nyeri reads a copy of Seeds of Gold.

John Wambugu, an agronomist at Wambugu Agricultural Training Centre in Nyeri reads a copy of Seeds of Gold. Wambugu says the pullout has become an invaluable resource at the centre. PHOTO | JOHN KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BRIAN OKINDA
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By MICHAEL ORIEDO
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On Saturday 15, 2014, Nation Media Group rolled out the first issue of Seeds of Gold, following a partnership with Egerton University, the premier agricultural training institution.

The magazine featured well-researched expert pieces on various farming aspects and different stories of young agri-entrepreneurs, who were reaping from the soil.

Its full-colour coupled with informative, educative and captivating stories from various farms across the country was a hit with readers, who warmly embraced it.

Three years down the line, as Seeds of Gold celebrates its third anniversary today, it remains the leading agricultural magazine in the country.

Our vision and mission are still intact, and every week we strive to bring to you information on the best farming practices, quality seeds, value addition, pest and disease control and more importantly, highlight opportunities in agribusiness.

You, our reader, is our biggest asset and we thank you for the loyal support. Without you, Seeds of Gold would not have had any impact in the society.

Further, we greatly appreciate your feedback. It is through interaction with you that we have managed to achieve success and serve you better by introducing new sections that include the Diary of a Poultry Farmer and a veterinary clinic.

New exciting sections and stories are on the way, keep reading.

ENHANCINC EXTENSION SERVICES

Seeds of Gold indeed has touched many lives, as farmers attest, and revolutionised the agribusiness sector by boosting incomes, thus, ensuring we are food secure.

“The pull-out has been the most important publication in my enterprise. I look forward to reading it each week. Being a poultry farmer, my favourite section is Dr Subiri Obwogo’s Diary of a Poultry Farmer,” says Iddi Kathele, a farmer in Magadi, Kajiado Country.

Roseanne Wanjiku, the Managing Director of GAEA Foods, a potato value addition enterprise, says, “Through Seeds of Gold, I have gained immense knowledge on emerging trends in farming, marketing, product pricing, innovation and connected with farmers.”

Cefra Agri-tourism farm in Meru uses the pullout for training purposes.

Cefra Agri-tourism farm in Meru uses the pullout for training purposes. PHOTO | CAROLINE WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

For the last three years, Egerton University has remained our valued partner.

Prof Rose Mwonya, the vice-chancellor, says the magazine has contributed immensely to the distribution of farming knowledge from the institution, thus, enhancing extension services.

“As a university, we have seen Seeds of Gold contribute significantly to the dissemination of information and provide rare expert advices to farming community on improved and new technology,” she says, adding that the pull-out has provided a platform for marketing and purchasing of agricultural products and services.

According to Prof Mwonya, through the success stories and articles from university staff and students every Saturday, Seeds of Gold has generated renewed interests in agriculture as a remunerative economic activity, not for the poor and low class as was previously seen.

IMPROVING FOOD SECURITY

“This has impacted significantly on improving food security, incomes and created employment not only in Kenya but in Africa, by encouraging more people, especially the youth and professionals, to engage in farming profitably.”

“Egerton being the premier university in agriculture in Africa shall continue to partner and support Nation Media Group to be able to publish the magazine into the foreseeable future,” she adds.

Prof Paul Kimurto, a crop science expert and the co-ordinator of Seeds of Gold, Egerton University, says researchers at the institution are amazed by the impact of the magazine.

“When we launched three years ago, we were very skeptical as university professors and scientists if the magazine was going to create impact on the farming community. But time has proved us right, Seeds of Gold has created data banks of agricultural technology, reference material of how to source genetic stocks and seeds for crops, how to manage different agri-enterprises, knowhow on major impediments to increased yields mainly diseases and pests, quality standards for major markets, post-harvest management and whole agri-value chains efficiencies.”

The partnership between Nation Media Group and Egerton University, according to Prof Kimurto, has demonstrated the role private-public partnerships can play in improving food security, incomes and job creation, especially for the youth in agriculture sector.

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Our Commitment

Seeds of Gold looks forward to more years ahead of continued interactivity, partnerships, cooperation and information and knowledge-sharing between stakeholders involved in making Kenya a farming giant.

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Franklin Riungu of Cefra Agri-tourism Farm, Meru displays his collection of Seeds of Gold.

Franklin Riungu of Cefra Agri-tourism Farm, Meru displays his collection of Seeds of Gold. PHOTO | CAROLINE WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Franklin Riungu, Cefra Agri-tourism Farm, Meru

Seeds of Gold has become the Bible of the farming community. I find the pullout easy to understand as it consists of very clear explanations.

It is something farmers identify with. Through information from Seeds of Gold, I have been able to deal with different poultry challenges and learn latest farming techniques.

I have also learned challenges other farmers are going through and the traps to avoid.

I also like the Green Market because I have been able to sell my produce through it. I would readily recommend anyone to read Seeds of Gold and schools should stock it in their libraries.

My concern, however, is the disappearance of the humour column from the paper as it was a source of laughter.

Again, why can’t Seeds of Gold remain a pullout for easy filing? I find it irritating when the magazine shares pages with literature.

-Caroline Wambui

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Marion Dome, a poultry farmer in Eldoret.

Marion Dome, a poultry farmer in Eldoret with some of her chicken. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Marion Dome, poultry farmer, Eldoret

The turning point of my agribusiness came when was I was featured in Seeds of Gold in January 2015. My business has flourished since then and to date I still receive calls from farmers who want to learn and buy my products.

I have since diversified to rearing broilers.

Through Seeds of Gold, I am able to know what other farmers are doing and what is happening in the industry.

– Stanley Kimuge

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Justin Magiri, rabbit farmer Mombasa

Seeds of Gold featured my story last year and since then, I came to know the value of farming.

Shortly after the story ran, farmers from various parts of the country contacted me to learn more about rabbit keeping, and some from as far as Western Kenya visited.

Justin Magiri, a rabbit farmer from Mombasa with one of the rabbits that he keeps.

Justin Magiri, a rabbit farmer from Mombasa with one of the rabbits that he keeps. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The exposure opened doors for me as I was able to get more orders for rabbit meat from supermarkets, individuals and families.

I had an order to supply 10kg of rabbit meat per week to a supermarket, but after my story ran in Seed of Gold, my order was increased to 18kg per week.

Currently, I keep about 200 rabbits, having started the venture in 2013 with only six.

My target is to grow the business so that I can rear up to 1,000 rabbits because demand for the animal’s meat is rising.

– Mathews Ringa

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David Kipchumba, tomato greenhouse farmer in Uasin Gishu 

I find the magazine educative and inspiring. I must confess I went into tomato greenhouse housing after reading stories of farmers using the technology in Seeds of Gold.

David Kipchumba, greenhouse farmer in Uasin Gishu inspects his crops.

David Kipchumba, greenhouse farmer in Uasin Gishu inspects his crops. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

After I was featured, a group of youth came to visit me and now several of them have embraced farming. I am happy that I have contributed to boosting farming.

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Naisadet Kitaie, Kakamega

I keep dairy cows, poultry and grow tomatoes, and I find Seeds of Gold a blessing because of the information I get.

I went into dairy farming in 2015 as a hobby but I didn’t go for any training.

I was finding it difficult but when I came across Seeds of Gold, things improved.

I get a lot of information on dairy feeds, latest farming technology, diseases and pest management from farmer’s experiences and the columns written by experts from Egerton University add great value. 

Naisadet Kitaie, a farmer in Kakamega attends to her dairy cow.

Naisadet Kitaie, a farmer in Kakamega attends to her dairy cow. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

For instance, I realised I used to go wrong in silage-making but learned various methods from the pull-out.

Now, instead of burying the silage in ground, I have switched to making silage in black polythene tubes. 

I would like to ask farmers who are featured to always share information when reached on phone by others because sometimes you call some and they are very cold.

– Elizabeth Ojina