Brief news on farming and agribusiness in the country

Thursday January 24 2019

Dairy cattle feeding.

Dairy cattle feeding. Uasin Gishu livestock chief officer, Dr Victoria Tarus, said they are working on harmonised vaccination fees and common livestock vaccination certificates that are acceptable in all the counties to tackle diseases such as foot and mouth and lumpy skin diseases. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

SEEDS OF GOLD TEAM
By SEEDS OF GOLD TEAM
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Devolved units push for joint livestock vaccination

North Rift counties are pushing for a joint livestock vaccination to curb outbreak of diseases and ensure the animals are healthy and meet the demands of buyers.

Uasin Gishu livestock chief officer, Dr Victoria Tarus, said that they are working on harmonised vaccination fees and common livestock vaccination certificates that are acceptable in all the counties to tackle diseases such as foot and mouth and lumpy skin diseases.

“We have realised that if one county vaccinates and others don’t, then it becomes difficult to control these diseases due to inter-county trade. We also want to increase the vaccination rate from the current 50 per cent to 80 per cent as recommended by the Kenya Veterinary Board,” added Dr Tarus, who chaired a meeting with other livestock officials from various devolved units.

She observed that they are keen to attain free disease zone status in the North Rift Economic bloc. The bloc, formed in 2015, brings together eight counties — Uasin Gishu, West Pokot, Baringo, Turkana, Samburu, Nandi, Elgeyo-Marakwet and Trans Nzoia.

“We have not been able to access the export market due to these diseases. We will be able to do so when the region has been declared disease-free,” noted county official.

She explained that they will be lobbying respective county assemblies to allocate funds to contain livestock diseases in the region. Meat products from livestock in the region — like Baringo and West Pokot — are naturally salted, thanks to the area’s red soil.

-Stanley Kimuge

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Factory secures US market for fresh produce farmers

A food processing factory in Nyandarua has secured market for local vegetables in Chicago, US.

The first consignment of carrots and sukuma wiki left for the US on Tuesday morning, after a year of trials on quality, verifications, and consultation with the buyer.

On Monday, tens of optimistic growers camped at Midland Factory in Njabini waiting for the containers and witnessed the loading of the first consignment.

Chief executive Sammy Njuguna said the vegetables were produced and delivered by over 5,000 farmers contracted by the company.

“We got a contract with Silva International, a Chicago-based wholesaler and supplier of dried fruits and vegetables. We then embarked on recruiting and training farmers to meet the set standards. It has been a long journey,” said Njuguna.

The company is paying the farmers Sh8 per kilogramme of carrots and Sh8.50 for a kilo of vegetables. The firm has also contracted farmers from Elgeyo-Marakwet, Narok, Kiambu and Meru counties.

“We are still unable to meet the demand. It’s an open supply contract, we have no limit for the number of tonnes we can supply. It’s a huge market,” said Njuguna.

Francis Kimingi, a contracted grower from Kinale in Kiambu, said the export market was a relief to the farmers since they have been selling to brokers a 120kg bag of sukuma wiki at Sh300.

-Waikwa Maina

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County to repair water pans

Mombasa County government will rehabilitate a water pan in Dongo Kundu in Likoni to enable farmers have constant water supply.

The rehabilitation will also include expanding of the Nashukuru water pan harvesting area.

Farmers have been complaining of low produce due to lack of water for their crops but they will now be able to engage in irrigation.

-Winnie Atieno