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Feedback: All you wanted to know about drilling borehole for farm use

Thursday April 11 2019

Men draw water from a well.

Men draw water from a well. With proper management of irrigation, one will be able to achieve high water use and efficiency. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

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I am looking forward to starting irrigation farming using borehole water in Buuri sub-county in Meru. I have a red soil farm approximately five acres with a small slope on the Northern side.

I am not an experienced farmer because the area is almost semi-arid and it does not rain most of the time. I have a hydrogeological and geophysical report for a borehole I am to drill. My questions are:

a) What are the requirements for borehole tools and equipment for drip commercial farming?

(b) What crops, fruits and vegetables are suitable for commercial farming in the area?

(c) Which financial institutions can finance drilling of a borehole? Supply contact


Mohamed Salim

Using irrigation makes farming a great venture since you can farm all year round. With proper management of irrigation, you will be able to achieve high water use efficiency.

You can also visit your sacco or bank for financial support for the venture. Now, to drill a borehole, you will need to have the following:

(1) Hydrogeological survey report, which you already have hopefully from a registered hydrologist.

(2) A National Environment Management Authority (Nema) permit.

(3) Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) drilling permit.

Then approach a contractor who must be registered with the National Construction Authority as a driller, with proof of tax compliance and adequate equipment plus key personnel.

You can visit NCA website; ( to confirm the contractor is registered.

They will drill and after completion, issue you with a Borehole Completion Record (BCR) from WRMA that details the borehole.

Some of the details on BCR are: Borehole profile, tested yield, borehole depth, pumping water level and static water level.

To equip the borehole, you will have to approach another contractor, who deals with borehole installation, with the following information;

BCR, supply head required (height of the storage tank from the borehole), the availability and source of power. After installations are done, testing will be done after which you will receive a detailed operation and maintenance manual.

Once you have that, you will need a detailed technical irrigation design to ensure an efficient system. For that, you can consult an agricultural engineer with details about your farm, who will advise you further on irrigation system design, layout and installation.

Or probably you can purchase a drip kit, which is a complete-packaged set, and request the supplier for technical assistance.

Thereafter, it is advisable that you work closely with the local government agricultural extension officer, who will advise on the best suitable crops and crop patterns for good business in your area.

Samuel Muhoro Kinyanjui,
Department of Agricultural
Egerton University.



I want to know where I can sell moringa leaves and how much a kilo goes for?

Phillip Otieno (Busia)

Marketing and utilisation of moringa leaf powder

Like any other processed food product, processing, packing/packaging and selling of moringa powder should follow the tenets outlined by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs).

In the case of moringa powder, the product can attract premium prices when standard practices before marketing are followed.

Each package of moringa leaf product must be legibly labelled to show: Name of product, net content, name and address of producer, country of origin, lot/batch identification number or code, instructions for use, production date and nutritional information (optional).

In Kenya, certified producers of moringa leaf powder sell their products at a premium price in supermarkets and other retail shops.

The price of moringa leaf powder depends on whether it is conventionally or organically produced, processing and nature of packing.

Organic moringa powder attracts higher premium price compared to conventional products. For a 100g of organic moringa powder, the price range is varied depending on the producer but could range from Sh200 to Sh450 or more.

Conventionally, produced leaf powder could be sold for as low as Sh50 for a 100g pack.

It is advisable to consume the powder within six months. This is because in storage, the protein and mineral contents are preserved for up to six months, whereas a loss of up to 50 per cent of vitamins can be reached after six months of storage.

Once the container or package is opened, the leaf powder should be consumed quickly (within one week) since its water content will increase and it will be exposed to microbial contamination.

For this reason, it is advised to package leaf powder in rather small containers. This is because the powder strongly attracts moisture and the product can reabsorb humidity during or after milling.

Marketing of moringa powder should not be a hindrance to its production because it is a nutritionally valuable plant.

Apart from the leaf powder, Moringa oleifera leaves, which are rich in nutrients, can be cooked and consumed as leafy vegetables.

Isaiah Aleri,
Department of Crops Horticulture and Soils. Egerton University.



Please furnish me with all the information on spirulina, availability and contacts, production and usage of it.

Spirulina is algae, which grows naturally in mineral rich alkaline lakes. It is a medicinal plant which is fast-maturing and rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals.

Spirulina cultivation in Kenya is being carried out in Dunga beach in Kisumu. There is also a farmer doing it in Gilgil.

Spirulina requires light, temperatures of 25°C and above and alkaline water. Production of spirulina can be done in the open field or indoors like in a greenhouse, in a tank or pond.

The water used in the growing of spirulina should be clean, free from any contaminants. Therefore, to start spirulina farming, you will need a tank, pond or a greenhouse, clean water and substrate (seeds).

You will also need salt to add to the water. After mixing the seeds with the water, you will need to keep turning the spirulina as it has long strings and breaking them encourages faster growth.

Harvesting starts 7-14 days after planting. After harvesting, you have to remove the excess water. Drying is then done as they are highly perishable.

Products include spirulina powder, capsules and is also used in the cosmetic industry.

Health benefits

• Prevents cancer
• Helps in growth of stronger hair and nails.
• Detoxification — gets rid of toxins from the body.
• Boosts energy
• Weight loss
• Anti-ageing properties- the powder can be mixed with water and applied as a face mask for 15 minutes.
• Boosts immune system especially for HIV patients.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture, and Soils, Egerton University.



I need pawpaw/papaya hybrid seeds.

Prince Breezy, Mogotio

Papaya hybrid seeds are available from Royal Seed Company. They have Red Royale F1, Sinta F1 and Vega F1.

Contact them on [email protected] or 0780 884087

Carol Mutua
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University



I am highly interested in strawberry farming. Kindly assist me in sourcing the seeds.

Stephen Mburu, Kigumo

Please contact The Strawberry Farm on 0723701237.

Carol Mutua
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.



I am interested in planting stevia. Where can I purchase seedlings?

Salim Abdallah, Kwale

You can get stevia seedlings from Stevia Kenya. You can contact them through 0715 639223.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture, and Soils, Egerton University.



I would like to start banana farming in Taita Hills on a quarter-acre. Please teach me how to propagate the crop, from spacing requirements, where to get tissue culture seedings (which type will do well at my place) and how much they cost.

Mwakisha Mdawida

Available varieties: Cavendish (dwarf, medium and giant), Israel, Uganda Green, Ng’ombe, Apple Sweet banana, Williams, Grand naine, Kampala and Valarie.

Land preparation: Clear trees, bushes and weeds from the field and plough deeply in dry season to kill all weeds
Spacing: Spacing depends on the variety, soil fertility level, and rainfall (water availability). The following spacing is recommended under a five-year cycle on fertile soil with adequate rainfall:

Short variety (Dwarf Cavendish, Giant Cavendish) 2.5m×3m. Medium variety (Valerie, Williams) 3.0m×4.0m and Tall variety 4m×4m.

Planting: Planting hole measuring 90cm×90cm×60cm is recommended depending on water availability. In dry and semi-arid areas, larger holes measuring 90cm×90cm×60cm are recommended. S

eparate the topsoil from the subsoil. Mix the topsoil with one debe (about 20kg) of well-decomposed manure and 150g of Triple superphosphate.

Refill the hole with the top soil first followed by the sub soil. Heavy cover of mulch should be placed around each plant to conserve soil moisture.

Fertiliser and manure application: At planting, about 200g of triple super phosphate (TSP) should be applied per plant.

Top-dress with 300g of calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) applied around each stool per year. Two to four debes of decomposed farmyard manure is applied per stool every year before onset of rains

Weeding: Shallow-weeding is recommended. If mechanical weeding is done, care should be taken to avoid any disturbance of the roots.

Earthing up of the stem base is required in windy areas. Tissue culture bananas can be sourced from Kalro at average of 100 per plant.

Samwel Mwita,
Department of Crops,
Horticulture and Soils,
Egerton University.



My journey into crop farming has so far been bad. I started in October 2018 and tried to follow the tips from Seeds of Gold and the internet.

I carried out a soil test before attempting to plant anything. The soil test gave me the confidence to start. I have-an-acre in Kilifi County and decided to try and plant numerous crops to see which would do well.

I planted coriander, watermelon, okra, collard greens and pawpaws. However, the only crop that grew well was okra. In a bid to ensure that my crops would remain safe from nearby vandals and livestock, I decided to fence it which increased costs.

Moreover, I hired someone to dig a well and they stopped after 18 feet, saying that was enough (the water tasted a little saltier than I was hoping but I was assured it was okay).

I don't come from a family of farmers but I am very interested in farming and would like to continue this journey. As of mid-January, I have nothing growing on the farm and I am unsure of how to go about the next planting phase.

I would appreciate any advice on the matter. Should you need any more information or would like to reach out to me, kindly contact me via email.

Farzeen Wilson

Crops like okra, brinjals, chillies, citrus, mango, cashew nuts, coconuts, bananas, cassava, sorghum, green grams, millet, cowpeas and amaranthus (terere) will do well in Kilifi.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture, and Soils, Egerton University.



I am interested in palm oil production and processing. Do you have articles on the topic? I would really appreciate.
Paul Muhami,

Business Coach — Success Academy, Nairobi.

Palm produces two types of oils; palm oil from the fruit and palm kernel oil from the seed. Unripe palm fruits contain very little oil but the mesocarp of ripe fruits has an oil content of about 70 to 75 per cent of its total weight.

The palm kernel contains about 46 to 57 per cent of oil. The techniques for processing the oil vary with available technology, which influences the type and quality of oil produced.

The extraction of oil from freshly harvested palm fruit bunch involves cutting the fruit in smaller portions. This is followed by separation of fruits from the bunch and spikelets.

Sterilisation is done using high-temperature wet-heat treatment. Mesocarps are then detached from the fruit nuts, ground and pressed to release crude palm oil.

Crude palm oil is then separated from the mash. In small-scale processing, after sterilisation, the palm fruits are put in a digester with high temperature that softens the fruit and destroys the outer covering (exocarp).

The palm kernel is an oilseed found in the fruit of the oil palm. Palm kernel oil processing starts with shelling of the palm nuts.

The palm kernels are dried and then pounded or ground to a paste. Lastly, the paste is mixed with a small quantity of water and heated to release the oil.

Palm oil is used in the production of both food and non-food products such as margarines, shortenings, compound cooking fats, confectionery fats, soap and detergents, candles, cosmetics and lubricating greases for machinery.

The wastes produced after oil extraction like pressed palm kernel, the palm bunch, palm trunk and palm frond also have many domestic and industrial uses.

Faith Ndungi,
Department of Human Nutrition-Egerton University.



I recently happened to have harvested 1,500 to 2,000 pumpkins. Is there any way you can connect me with a good buyer or a good market to sell?

Florence Wangui, Teacher in Embu

Pumpkins have a good market locally and internationally. You can sell your pumpkins in supermarkets, local markets, hotels, traders in Nairobi and other major towns.

You can also advertise on social media platforms like Facebook and also in print media so that consumers can be aware of your products. You can also advertise in Seeds of Gold at a fee.

Carol Mutua
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.



I am a youth who would like to start farming garlic. Kindly advise me on where I can buy garlic seedlings.
Stephen Mwenda

Please contact Garlic and Pepino Farm, Nakuru through 0723 713642

Carol Mutua
Egerton University.