Brief news on farming and agribusiness from around the country

Monday August 27 2018
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A young showgoer views tomatoes during a past Mombasa ASK Show. This year's event kicks off from Wednesday at Mkomani grounds. FILE PHOTO | NMG


All set for Mombasa show starting Wednesday

The government has beefed up security in Mombasa in readiness for the international agricultural show, which kicks off from Wednesday next week at Mkomani grounds.

Sniffer dogs, surveillance cameras and guards will help the police man the town and the grounds where the event will be held.

County commissioner Evans Achoki assured showgoers yesterday that they will have maximum security during the fair.

“Police officers have been deployed in Nyali sub county to ensure showgoers are well guarded. We have selected an OCPD who will head security during the show. We also have enough security guards who will be patrolling the area with dogs,” Achoki said.

Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) Coast branch chairperson Anisa Abdallah said the event would be secured better than the previous years. “We have installed CCTVs cameras at strategic places in the showground. We also have a security committee that will ensure people are well guarded,” she said.


Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho is expected to address showgoers on the first day of the fair and on August 30, President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to officially open the event.

Other guests expected at the event include Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, governors Granton Samboja of Taita Taveta County and Fahim Twaha of Lamu.

In addition, students from different schools, including those from institutions of higher learning in the coastal region, will be exhibiting their products.

“Some governors have showed interest of supporting the young farmers,” Abdallah said.

She added that there will be training on entrepreneurship, agribusiness and trade.

She urged locals, mainly the youth, to attend the training to get agribusiness ideas and knowledge. The training will be conducted from August 29 to August 31.

“We will be having facilitators from different firms who will offer the training to the youth. We are mostly targeting the youth because most of them are unemployed. This training will equip them with knowledge on how to be entrepreneurs in the agriculture field,” Abdallah said.

She noted that the show will also focus broadly on the different cultures in country and various groups will perform at the event.

Local and international exhibitors are expected at the fair. Last year, the number of exhibitors stood at 138, but this year, it has increased to 190, according to Abdallah.

“Over 250 exhibitors were invited. At least 130 exhibitors have confirmed their participation as at yesterday. We expect more exhibitors to confirm their attendance,” she said.

International exhibitors will come from Tanzania, China, Egypt, Turkey and Ukraine, according to the official.

-Diana Mutheu


Kiunjuri promises better times for tea, potato farmers

The government will increase the production of quality potato seeds from the current 6,700 metric tonnes to 30,000 metric tonnes per year, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has said.

The CS noted that only 18 per cent of local farmers plant certified potato seeds as others rely on traditional ones due to lack of access to quality seeds.

"We will raise potato seed production so that the use of certified seeds rises to 30 per cent,” said the CS at Kimulot Secondary School in Bomet County during an agribusiness training and exhibition targeting women this week.

Mr Kiunjuri noted farmers currently spent Sh40,000 to farm an acre of potatoes, which is so high only to make little profits. He assured certified would help change the situation.

Kephis managing director Esther Kimani said the agency will train a number of women groups in Bomet to produce quality potato seeds for distribution across the county.

Mr Kiunjuri further said the government is working to improve earnings for tea farmers besides giving them subsidised fertiliser. Angry tea farmers had told the CS that the Sh16 per kilo of green leaf paid by Kenya Tea Development Agency did not equal their hard work.

He asked farmers to consider planting the purple tea variety that fetches four times more in the international market.

-Anita Chepkoech and Vitalis Kimutai

App tracks sorghum farmers

Kenya Breweries Limited has rolled out a mobile platform to track the sorghum grown by the 30,000 farmers contracted to farm the Senator Keg raw material.

Managing director Jane Karuku said the mobile phone solution — Farmforce — will be used to eliminate paperwork and enable the brewer appraise the growing and harvesting of the raw materials in real time. “Through this technology, we will be able to track the grain to glass journey,” said Mrs Karuku.

The app, developed by Syngenta Foundation, will also help smallholders gain access to formal markets.

“Traceability plays an important role in our expansive value chain,” noted Karuku, terming the app a game-changer.