Brief news on farming and agribusiness from around the country

Tuesday October 9 2018

Honey harvesting session.

Honey harvesting session. Makueni MCAs have said the county should take advantage of the region’s climate, which they said is suitable for beekeeping to come up with a policy to institute production, value addition, trade and commercialisation of honey. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

SEEDS OF GOLD TEAM
By SEEDS OF GOLD TEAM
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Invest in honey value chain, MCAs tell county

Makueni ward representatives have called on the county government to invest in the honey value chain.

The MCAs said the county should take advantage of the region’s climate, which they said was suitable for beekeeping to come up with a policy to institute production, value addition, trade and commercialisation of honey.

They were debating a motion sponsored by nominated MCA Justus Masesi this week.

Those who backed the motion concurred with the mover that investing in beekeeping is a climate-smart move as it translates to increasing the region’s forest cover and protecting the environment.

“This county needs a policy that can guide our women, youth and people living with disabilities on beekeeping, which is a source of income, food and medicine,” said Masesi.

Farmers in the county produce 110 metric tonnes of honey per year, according to the 2018-2022 County Integrated Strategic Plan, mainly through traditional beehives.

-Pius Maundu

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Fingerlings project set to lift fish farming

Fish farmers in Kisumu will benefit from Sh15 million European Union fund, which will be used for the construction of a modern fingerling plant at Kasagam.

The initiative dubbed VicInAqua project is implemented by a consortium of seven countries namely Germany, Italy, Denmark, Malta, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The project will use recycled water to support the production of tilapia and Nile perch fingerlings.

Project manager Sandrine Ndorote said the initiative will demonstrate how sewer water can be recycled to rear fingerlings. “The fish aquarium plant will see a total of 25,000 fingerings produced monthly. In effect this will up fish production,” said Ms Ndorote.

Kisumu Agriculture excutive Gilchrist Okuom admitted that farmers have challenges in getting quality fingerlings to stock their ponds and cages.

Okuom challenged farmers to embrace technology and make agriculture more profitable.

County fisheries director Kenneth Luga said such technologies must be supported as they will improve farmers’ fortunes in the county.

-Elizabeth Ojina

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Conserve Red Maasai sheep, farmers told

The need to conserve the indigenous Red Maasai sheep was at the centre of discussions during a recent international conference in Torino, Italy.

Participants at the forum for indigenous people, noted that cross-breeding of the sheep with others was threating its survival.

Margaret Tunda, a Producers Coordinator at Slow Food Kenya, said the Maasai people had been duped to believe that cross breeding the sheep would enhance food and economic security.

“Our people have been convinced that by cross breeding the Red Maasai sheep with the South African Dorper would make them rich,” said Margaret. However, she added, the crossed breed is less resistant to pests and diseases. The Red Maasai sheep, therefore, is most viable among the locals amid ongoing current climate change.

Margaret’s efforts to conserve the sheep received support from the International Development Organisation, and Slow Food International, an organisation that promotes good, clean and fair food.

She was speaking during the 2018 Terra Madre; Salone Del Gusto (mother earth, exhibition of taste), an event that is marked every two years to celebrate food, people and create awareness on access to good and safe food. Margaret also doubled up as a representative of young indigenous women in agriculture and livestock keeping.

Slow Food Kenya President John Kariuki said the organisation has doubled efforts to conserve the Red Maasai Sheep.

-Rachel Kibui