alexa Brief news on farming and agribusiness in the country - Daily Nation

Brief news on farming and agribusiness in the country

Friday June 14 2019

Dairy cattle graze in farm.

Dairy cattle graze in farm. Well-documented records of individual cows offer good marketing tools since they give a bargaining confidence to ask for premium prices. One app capable of helping farmers achieve this is the SmartCow, which helps dairy entrepreneurs track their progress real-time. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

SEEDS OF GOLD TEAM
By SEEDS OF GOLD TEAM
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Mobile app lessens the burden of efficiently managing a dairy farm

Dairy farmers have been asked to embrace digital technology to enhance the management of their records.

The technologies the farmers should embrace include apps that help in farm management.

One such an app is called SmartCow, which helps dairy entrepreneurs track their progress real-time, according to Alex Gitonga, the developer of the software.

The app, according to him, is a cloud-based dairy management system available on mobile phone, laptop and tablets.

“Farmers can register their herd details and monitor the daily activities using the app,” he said.

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The software, he added, alerts farmers on breeding details such as heat checks, pregnancy confirmation, drying, steaming and calving as well as health dates such as next deworming and next vaccinations.

The USAID Champions of Change nominee noted that data stored in the app is safe and is automatically backed up.

“It cannot be affected by loss of the devices or gadgets used by a farmer, who is able to monitor and access the records in real-time from anywhere."

-Irene Mugo

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Timber growers asked to seek forest management certification

Smallholder timber growers have been urged to seek forest management certification to enable them access better markets.

Experts from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international non-profit organisation that promotes economically viable forest resources management, said that acquiring certification would enable the products access international markets.

FSC regional director Harrison Kojwang said certified timber products have great value in Europe where buyers are willing to pay premium prices for forest products harvested from farms that have sustainability labels.

“The certification eliminates illegal logging and gives confidence to a buyer that the resources are managed sustainable,” Kojwang said, adding that the certificate is renewed after every five years.

FSC managing director Kim Carstensen said that certification is achieved after an audit is carried out at various stages, from the forest to the end product.

-Leopold Obi

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Experts root for organic farming over GMOs to boost food security

The government has been asked to explore alternative food production systems such as agroecology and organic farming before adopting genetically modified organisms.

Emmanuel Atamba, an agriculture youth ambassador, said GMOs are presented as a solution to achieving food security yet there are other forms of agriculture that can give the farmer sovereignty and more yields, said Atamba, who was speaking during a meeting organised by Route to Food Initiative.

Wanjiru Kamau, an agriculture policy expert, said GMOs are a form of agriculture that throws farmers into long-term dependencies, undermines critical biodiversity and promotes large-scale industrial agriculture, which exacerbates poverty particularly in a context where the majority of farmers are smallholders.

Prof Theophilus Mutui, acting director for technical services at the National Biosafety Authority, said they are conducting a national performance trial for Bt Cotton in seven areas of the country.

Bt Maize has also been approved to undergo national performance trials, which are yet to begin. Kenya is considering lifting the ban on GMOs.

-Brian Okinda