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Brief news on developments in farming and agribusiness

Saturday March 3 2018

An official from Amiran Kenya displays one of their tomato varieties grown in a greenhouse.

An official from Amiran Kenya displays their tomato varieties grown in a greenhouse. The farm input firm has introduced a new range of F1 seeds that are resistant to numerous adverse elements. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

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Firm introduces new fast-maturing, disease-tolerant seeds

Amiran Kenya has introduced a new variety of seeds that are resistant to numerous adverse elements.

The F1 range of hybrid seeds comprise those of tomatoes, onions, cabbages and capsicum. They are tolerant to diseases, quick to mature and are outstanding in yield.

“Superior genetic material used in these seeds’ production enables them to have excellent disease resistance making it possible for farmers to produce healthy crops whenever other options pose challenges,” said Diana Orinda, Amiran’s product development agronomist.

Farmers have a choice of planting hybrid open-pollinated seeds, hybrid greenhouse seeds or hybrid open-field varieties under the F1 range, which all have good germination rates of nearly 100 percent, seedlings success rate and uniformity in crop maturity, according to Orinda.

She added that with F1 seeds, post-harvest losses usually incurred by farmers are highly reduced due to the high fruit-keeping quality which ensures the produce reaches markets in their required state, with the early-maturing nature reducing farm operational costs hence increasing farmers’ net revenue. 


“Their adaptability to variable climatic conditions makes these hybrids suitable across various climatic ecological regions,” added Orinda.

The tomato seeds are resistant to diseases like the vector-borne tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), with hybrid examples such as Shanty Improved F1 and Galilea Improved offering farmers the resilience needed against TYLCV.

Soil-borne bacterial wilt, which causes up to 100 per cent crop losses, and cannot be controlled chemically, can be contained by using Zara F1, a new high-yielding tomato variety that has helped farmers in regions where soils are infected with bacterial wilt.

-Brian Okinda


Farmers to benefit from Sh20bn Equity Group Funding

Peter Kanyi, a farmer in Nyeri County, switched from being a potato grower to a seed multiplier.

Kanyi is among some 2,400 farmers who participated in the Agriculture Entrepreneurship Accelerator for Medium Size Farmers Project, a three-year pilot programme of the foundation in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The programme has now been rolled out targeting over 20,000 farmers across all the 47 counties. The foundation said it has put a side Sh20 billion to support the farmers in the next five years.

Speaking during the roll out recently, Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi pointed out that medium-scale farmers had been neglected for many years by the government, which focuses on smallholder farmers, and the private sector primarily works with large-scale farmers.

-Leopold Obi