Beginning to farm: What you must do for quality harvest - Daily Nation

Beginning to farm: What you must do for quality harvest

Friday August 15 2014

Maina Karuiru tends to his avocado trees at

Maina Karuiru tends to his avocado trees at Kiarithaini villlage in Mathira. FILE / NATION 

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I have a quarter an acre. I have subdivided a section for sukuma wiki and I want the rest to plant traditional vegetables, especially managu, cow peas and sagaa. Where can I get high quality seeds for the above mentioned crops.
James Ongeti

Kenya Seed Company would be most ideal for good quality seeds of vegetables
Seeds of Gold Team,
Egerton University

Please advise me on how I can establish a Lucerne stand.

Jeremiah Gacheru

Lucerne is best established by seeds at a rate of about 4kg per acre sown at the onset of a rainy season in a shallow seedbed (5 to 15mm) with good soil-seed contact. Inoculating lucerne seeds helps germination, early seedling vigour and nodulation but in the absence of inoculants, seeds can be soaked in two to three litres of water per 25kg. Approximately 50kg per hectare of nitrogen fertiliser can be applied during sowing.
Kimitei Ronald, Deparment of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.
[email protected]


I have three quarter acres complete with a well with hard water for irrigation in Alego West, Siaya County and I am interested in dairy (zero grazing) and agribusiness. Please advice on suitable breed and crops to plant.

Now that you want to venture into dairy cattle farming, the best source would be around Nyanza due to the climatic conditions of your area. About two Friesian animals would be best to start with.

Thereafter, raise your own calves and I am sure this will take a small piece of land for the zero grazing structure though having in mind expansion. The rest of the land can accommodate fresh growing vegetables, making best use of the borehole water, consider also crop rotation.
Felix Akatch, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.
[email protected]

With proper management and technical advice, hard water can be used in irrigation of salinity-tolerant crops such as tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, watermelons, sweet corn and cabbage. Grass for pasture may not be a problem to irrigate with hard water since most are salt-tolerant. However, it is advisable you carry out a preliminary water hardness test from agricultural laboratories to form the basis for long term recommendations. You should be careful to use the appropriate piping installations for your irrigation system.

John Nganga, Department of crops horticulture and soil. [email protected]

I would like to know the distributors of Egerton bean seeds in Bungoma and Eldoret town.

We have not established a distributor in Bungoma yet, but you can get them from Kitale at Mazop Distributors, contact 0722875780. In Eldoret, you can get from Green Farm stores (Contact Paul Limo 0722375866) or 64 Agrovet or Maraba Agrovet in Eldoret.
Prof Paul Kimurto, Agro-Science Park Egerton University

It’s with great interest that I have learnt of the new bean varieties. Which of these varieties can grow in Kakamega County? I have a quarter acre where I have planted maize currently and I would wish to plant beans. Is this a good practice? I would wish to try the new Egerton varieties?

Tasha variety is good for Kakamega. You need 6kg for quarter an acre. Intercropping is a good practice especially in small-scale but you need to do a wider of maize of 75 by 30cm and two rows of beans. There are also Kari Kakamega varieties like KK8 and KK15, which could do well there. Call 0725-889689 for any queries.
Bernard Towett-Crops Horticultural Dept, Egerton University

Of the three beans varieties from Egerton, which one can perform well in lower Nyakach during the short rains. I have an acre which I am planning to plant beans. What is the seed rate?  Are there stockists of the seeds around the lake region especially Kisumu and at what cost per kilo?

Egerton beans might not do well in the region. The right legume crop for lower Nyakach is Chickpea. Chickpea is a drought-tolerant crop which does well in black cotton soils and can be done in the off season after harvesting rice, sorghum, maize or millets. Chickpea seeds have been released by Egerton University Seed Unit and adoption promotions are ongoing in Nyakach. If interested contact, 0725889689.

Bernard Towett-Crops Hort Soils Department, Egerton University

I’m a farmer and have planted five acres of groundnuts. In a month’s time they will be ready. Kindly advise me the best seeds and where I can get the best market
. Paul

You have not said where you are doing your business, but there is a good market for groundnuts in major towns like Nairobi, Kisumu and Thika. There are also small and medium processing companies which can buy your crop.

You could inquire seed from sources like Kari Kakamega, ICRISAT, Leldet Seeds or Dryland Seeds or Kenya Seed Company.

Please contact them. The best varieties that have been commercialised in Kenya include ICGV 90704, ICGV 83708, ICGV 99568 and ICGV 12991 for most growing areas of Nyanza, Coast, Kerio valley, Baringo, Eastern and Western.
Prof Paul Kimurto,

Agro-Science Park, Egerton University


I have a two-acre piece of land at Kinangop, where I want to plant Irish potatoes. I’ve not farmed before. Where can I get suitable certified seeds?

You can obtain potato seeds and potato farming practices from Kari Muguga, ADC Molo, Ann Mbugua Molo and Kisima farm in Meru, who are producers of certified potato seeds.
John Nganga. [email protected] Department of crops horticulture and soil.

I would like to know how to keep garlic onions free from Fusarium Root Rot.

Fusarium Root Rot is caused by a soil borne fungus that can survive in the soil for long. Like most other soil-borne diseases, the first line of defence should be to establish the onions in pathogen free soil.

Crop rotation in this case should be most ideal to reduce or eradicate the fungus from the soil. Since the infection enters onion through wounds, it would also be wise to keep your field or greenhouse free of insects and other physical injuries.

Fungicides such as carbendazim, copper oxychloride and metalaxyl can be used especially in treatment of seeds before planting.
John Nganga, Department of Crops Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University

Please pass me the contacts of Salina, the teacher from Bomet who keeps dairy, bees and fish. She was featured on May 24.

EDITOR: Reach the farmer on 0710949383.


I kindly write to enquire the contact of John Maingi featured on August 2.
EDITOR: Maingi is available on 0723348761.


I am kindly requesting the contact of the Kisii avocado farmer. I have interest in the venture.

EDITOR: Reach Nyakundi on 0725407226.
I am a poultry, fish and horticulture farmer based in Meru, and I wish to partner with Alice Migwi. I would appreciate if you could furnish me with her contacts.
James Kamunde

EDITOR: The farmer is reached on 0703490238.

I’m interested in bee keeping. I would like to get in-touch with Justus Kiema of Royal Bee Keepers.

I have 15 acres near Salama market on Mombasa Road. At the moment the land is idle and I would like to keep bees on large-scale. Kindly pass me the contact of Kiema.

I have been scouting for somebody who could sell me beehives. I am lucky to get the information from you. Kindly if possible get me the contacts of Kiema.

I kindly want the contacts of Justus Kiema of Rongai. I want to buy his modern beehive (jumbo).

EDITOR: Kiema is available on 0722443312.

I have planted eucalyptus trees in Busia that are now ready for harvesting although I have not been able to get a market. Please send me the contacts of Humphrey Njoroge or alternatively guide me on where I can find a market for the trees.

EDITOR: The farmer is available on 0722846096.

I need the contacts of the ornamental bird farmer Raphael Kimani that you featured. I recently started bird keeping and I feel that he can be an individual that I can learn from.
Sammy MugambiRadio Africa Group

EDITOR: Talk to Kimani on 0728549677.

Where can I buy the briquettes in Nairobi?
Cecilia Gichamba-Kibuthu

EDITOR: Kindly talk to Benson of Benmah Products, Nairobi on 0722237869.


I enjoyed the story of the businessman who converts fish skin and scales into useful products. I kindly request his contacts.
EDITOR: Talk to Newton on 0724783658.

Kindly forward me contact details of Susan, the farmer who constructed her own greenhouse using the assistance of an agricultural officer. I would like to be guided on the same path.
Rose Muigai

EDITOR: Susan can be reached on 0736177161.

Kindly assist me the contact of the Maasai herdsman, Simion.

EDITOR: Simion is available on 0711829882.


Kindly assist me with the contacts for the eryngium flower farmer from Lari, Kiambu.  I am a tuberose flower farmer and would be interested in planting the flowers.
Rahab Gichia,

EDITOR: Talk to Alex Njenga on 0725362500.