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Brief news on farming and agribusiness in the country

Thursday July 11 2019

Dairy cows graze in a farm.

Dairy cows graze in a farm. Brookside trained women groups from Kajiado on how to reap from their dairy enterprises. PHOTO | FILE 

SEEDS OF GOLD TEAM
By SEEDS OF GOLD TEAM
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Brookside tips women on how to reap from their dairy enterprises

Milk is a women-dominated enterprise among the Maasai in Kajiado County.

In Ilbsil, many women have turned the trade their major source of income, but they have been experiencing challenges that include diseases such as mastitis.

“We have had a lot of mastitis cases in our area. And this has been because most of us have been milking without washing cow teats or using jelly,” said Magdalene Naserian.

Besides that, many farmers have been washing their milk containers using sand and warm water.

But the farmers got tips from Brookside on how to boost their enterprises.

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“When milking, pull down from the base of the teat and always ensure the udder is thoroughly cleaned with warm water,” explained Kennedy Musakali, the Brookside Dairy regional manager.

He asked the farmers to only use clean aluminium containers to transport milk.

“Don’t add water or artificial butter to the milk before delivering it. It will be rejected at the collection centre,” he said.

The farmers were told to crossbreed the local animals with exotic ones for more milk and quality beef.

“Sahiwal cattle breed is doing well in this region and should be every farmer’s next option, away from the indigenous breeds,” said Musakali.

The farmers were advised against harvesting hay using slashers or machetes and on baling it using a box made of wood, a practice they said was to cut costs.

Farmers said the major challenge in dairy farming remains persistent drought and poor quality dairy breeds.

The farmers expressed optimism that cases of mastitis would decrease and milk business would thrive in the area following the training.

-Stanley Ngotho

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Initiative to enable agriculture students get attachment unveiled

Students pursuing agriculture-related courses will now find it easier to get industrial attachment following a partnership involving colleges, curriculum developers and the private sector.

Under the initiative dubbed Innovative Academic Placement Solution (Inaps), students will now send their internship applications via www.inaps.co.ke.

Emma Njiru, the executive director of Inaps, said that they are currently providing slots for 3,000 interns. Through the platform, organisations and companies in the agricultural sector will be able to select the interns. The application is open until end of August.

She said there is a huge disconnect between classwork and employment which makes internship quite necessary for youths ahead of employment.

Prof Samwel Wachanga, the deputy vice-chancellor in charge of administration at Egerton University, noted that there are over 100,000 students in the country currently looking for attachment, against very limited available spaces.

He said together with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development and Technical Vocational Education and Training Institutions, universities and colleges are developing a manual to support training of interns.

Dr Mwenda Mbaka, former Kenya Veterinary Board chairman, said that so long as the expertise of students is not developed to meet the demand of the industry, then the country cannot meet its development agenda or create employment.

-Leopold Obi

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Scentists find scent from zebra could help fight trypanosomiasis

Scientists have established that specific odours found in zebra skin could boost the management of the deadly and devastating African trypanosomiasis disease, which is transmitted by tsetse flies to people and livestock.

The findings are reported in a study by researchers from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe) and University of Pretoria, South Africa, published recently in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases journal.

Previous research has shown that tsetse flies avoid, and hardly bite zebras, even though the animals are commonly present in areas infested with the flies.

Olabimpe Olaide, a Nigerian scholar who conducted the study as part of her PhD work at Icipe, said that the research established that zebras produce certain scents that repel tsetse flies.

“We also found that a blend of three of these odours enhances the effectiveness of existing tsetse management tools, including the Icipe tsetse repellent collar technology and NGU traps,” noted Olabimpe.

“A blend of these chemicals has been packaged in innovative dispensers which, when worn as collars around the neck of cattle, essentially make cattle unattractive to tsetse flies,” added the scholar.