Brief news on developments in agriculture and agribusiness from across the country

Friday February 09 2018
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Toyota Tsusho Fertiliser Africa is running a three-month promotion dubbed ‘Baraka Kibao Bonanza’ to reward loyal fertiliser customers by giving two tractors and a Toyota Probox to local farmers and agro-dealers and encouraging them to adopt the Baraka range of fertilisers FILE | NMG


Baraka fertiliser users and dealers set to win two tractors in new promotion

A REGIONAL FERTILISER company is giving away two tractors and a Toyota Probox to local farmers and agro-dealers in a promotion that rewards loyal users of its fertiliser brands.

Toyota Tsusho Fertiliser Africa, fertiliser blender based in Eldoret, is running a three-month promotion dubbed ‘Baraka Kibao Bonanza’ to reward loyal fertiliser customers and encourage farmers to adopt Baraka range of fertilisers.

The fertiliser company produces 10 different Baraka fertiliser brands which are all specific to different crops and geographical areas.

Timothy Chege, Toyota Tsusho East Africa managing director, said there will be three draws during the promotion that runs from January 22 to April 22.

“To participate in the draws, one has to buy a 50kg bag of Baraka fertiliser. Farmers will participate by scratching a card to be found in every 50kg bag of fertiliser. They then send the PIN to 1393, a free SMS service across all networks.


Agro-dealers on the other hand will have to buy a minimum of one metric tonne of Baraka fertiliser products which is equivalent of 20 bags of 50kg fertilisers, Mr Chege said.

For every one tonne there is a raffle ticket which will be entered into the draw.

The grand prices include Case IH Tractor JXT55, while the second price is a captain tractor. The third prize is a Yamaha motorcycle going to eight farmers.

The Eldoret based fertiliser blending company which began operating in 2016 produces 50 metric tonnes of the commodity per hour.

“We produce our fertilisers after proper research on the crop and soils of different regions. First we identify an area, conduct soil sampling, then analyse the samples before coming up with the right formulation which suits the area and the crop,” said Mr Chege, adding that they have fertilisers for crops such as potatoes, rice, onions, vegetables and legumes and are currently planning to come up with fertilisers for sugarcane.



Coffee societies in Nyeri want county to help construct Sh130 million warehouse

COFFEE SOCIETIES in Nyeri want the county government to help them put up a Sh130 million modern warehouse to store their produce.

They said it has become difficult to access loans from commercial banks to build the structure.

“The county government should come up with revolving funds to assist the farmers because the interest rates in banks are too high and farmers cannot afford,” said Joseph Gathua of Othaya coffee society, “The modern warehouse will store coffee from farmers in the entire county.”

They want the warehouse to accommodate a laboratory for research on how to improve productivity and the quality of coffee and liquoring of the coffee from different coffee factories.

“With the facility, we can help store about 50,000 bags of coffee from all coffee factories in the county,” he said.
Othaya Coffee Society acquired a grinding and roasting machine worth Sh6million that can process 2,000 kilogrammes of parchment per hour.

“But we do not have a storage facility and once our coffee is milled we get a lorry to transport it to Nairobi immediately,” he said.

They also want the warehouse to be equipped with a weighing bridge that will weigh their produce and record automatically.

“We are also trying to ensure our records are digitised as well as improve our book and record keeping,” said Mr Gathua.

The farmers also want the county government to support them with technical and extension officers to train and empower them on the best agricultural practices which will enhance production.

Agriculture department in the county has been grappling with a shortage of extension officers which has been blamed to low productivity in both dairy and crop farming.

And with erratic weather conditions, farmers said they cannot continue relying on rains.



Scientists successfully test technology to extend shelf life of fruits in country

A NEW TECHNOLOGY to extend shelf life and quality of fruits is set to be rolled out in the country with scientists banking on it to boost farmers’ earnings.

Researchers from the University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) and Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) have been testing hexanal, a naturally occurring compound extracted from plants.

Hexanal slows down plant enzymes responsible for breaking cell membranes during the ripening process.

The technology has been developed in Canada for the last 30 years and tested in India and Sri Lanka. It has been tested in Kenya since 2014.

Prof Margaret Chesang, the lead researcher, said they had successfully tested hexanal on banana and pawpaw in Kenya extending storage by nine and six days, respectively.

The hexanal solution is applied by spraying fruit trees 30 and 15 days before harvesting or dipping mature green fruits after harvesting.

“Hexanal has the odor of freshly cut grass and does not remain on the fruit after 48 hours. Sprayed fruits can be retained on the tree for an extra 14 days. This means improved livelihoods and incomes for farmers. We are now releasing the results to farmers and other stakeholders awaiting registration by Kephis,” said Prof Chesang.

The compound is mixed with water at the rate of two to three per cent before application. “Hexanal is already in use in India where it has been registered. It is safe to consumers and has no negative effect on sugars and Vitamin C in fruits,” she said.

Prof Chesang said by using hexanal, farmers will have time to negotiate for better prices and avoid glut in the market.