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Feedback: Ginger farming; what to do

Thursday October 31 2019

A lady displays ginger that she grows in a farm in Uganda.

A farmer displays ginger that she grows in a farm in Uganda. The crop is mainly grown in the coastal lowlands of Kwale, Eastern region, Mt Elgon, Western and counties around Lake Victoria. It can do well in most parts of the country. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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IS NAIVASHA IDEAL FOR PRODUCTION OF GINGER?

Hi. Where can I get ginger seedlings? I would also like to know what to do in terms of land preparation and other practices.

Which areas in Kenya are good for that kind of farming? I intend to lease a piece of land in Naivasha, Nakuru County, to produce ginger. Is that advisable?

James V

Ginger requires heavy rains followed by a dry spell. It does well in areas with an annual rainfall of 1,000-2000mm.
The soils should be fertile, well drained loamy with a pH of 4.5-6.5. They should be free from nematodes and diseases.
The optimum temperature for ginger production is 25-30 degrees Celsius. Ginger is mainly grown in the coastal lowlands of Kwale, Eastern region, Mt Elgon, Western and counties around Lake Victoria. It can do well in most parts of the country.

For ginger seedlings, please contact Lavington Plant Centre on 0714 080532.

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

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PLANTS IN WET AREAS USED AS CHICKEN FEED

Hello, Thank you for the good work. I reside in a wet region and need advice on the plants I can grow to feed my pigs and chicken. Your advice will be greatly appreciated.

Stemax, Nyahururu

Azolla grows in water and can be found in lakes Baringo and Naivasha.

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

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ADVICE ON HOW TO PRODUCE BULLET CHILI

I would like to grow bullet chilli. Where can I get its seeds. I would like to grow it in Yatta, an area that is relatively dry. What is your advice? Educate me on the type of soil that is ideal for this kind of farming.

Thank you.

Petah

Bullet chilli seeds are available at Royal Seed Company, Safari Seeds and Greenlife Crop Protection Seeds.

Bullet chilies do well in warm areas and can grow on a wide range of soils as long as they are deep, fertile and well drained.

The seeds are first planted in a nursery for six to eight weeks after which they are transplanted to the seed bed. Transplanting should be done early in the morning, in the evening or on a cloudy day.
Harvesting starts 75-80 days after transplanting and continues for about six months. The harvesting should preferably be done at an interval of seven days. Ready market for African badaine, Thailand chilli

I want to embark on growing chilli. Where is the export market for Thailand, African badaine and bullet chilli?

Thailand chilli, African bird’s eye and bullet chilies can be exported to Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, France and most of the European countries.

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

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WHERE CAN I GET ARROW ROOT SEEDLINGS?

Hi, I would first like to commend you for the good work. Keep it up. I need to know where to find arrowroot (nduma) seedlings. I am a farmer in central Kenya.

Kinyua

Kindly pay a visit to Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) offices in Kandara, Murang’a County for the seedlings.

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

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HORTICULTURE FARMER NEEDS EXPORT CERTIFICATE

I am a horticulture farmer and need to export my produce. Where can I get the certificate and what is the process?
Petah

You should start with good agricultural practices as that will determine if your produce is good enough for export.

The Horticulture Crop Directorate (HCD) ensures that the good agricultural practices conditions are met before a farmer is issued with a compliance certificate.

The directorate also checks the suitability of the farm before certification is done. The certificate enables the farmer to look for a contract with exporting companies.

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service then issues a phytosanitary certificate after ascertaining that the produce is free of pests, diseases and chemical residues.

For more information, contact HCD on +254 (20) 2131560 or +254 (20) 2088469.

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

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WHAT TO DO IF YOU INTEND TO START GROWING AVOCADO

I want to start avocado farming in place of coffee but I have no idea what to do. Please advise on the hass variety.

Kithinji NM

The site for planting avocados should be free from anthills, level or gentle sloped and sheltered from strong winds.
Land should be properly ploughed and harrowed to remove weeds. It is also advisable to plant maize or sunflower a year before planting the avocados.

The square planting pattern is of 10m x 10m or 10m x 8m (rectangular) to give plant populations of 100 and 125 trees per hectare, respectively.

Planting holes are dug of size 45 cm x 45 cm x 45 cm. Holes are filled with top soil mixed with about 30kg of manure and 125g of DSP.

The trees are delivered in polythene bags and carefully removed to cause little disturbance to the roots. They are usually planted at a higher level than they were in the nursery.

After planting they are watered and mulched. The best time to plant is during the start of the long rains.

No pruning is required besides the removal of broken and diseased branches; and trimming those touching the ground.
Sucker growth is checked to remove shoots coming out of the rootstock.

It is recommended to have vegetables growing between the rows of young plantations. Beans have shown better results. Nothing should be planted closer than 2m from the tree.

Higher crops like maize and sunflower should not be intercropped with the avocado. In order to have a good produce, irrigation is necessary.

The quantity of water applied depends on the moisture characteristics of the soil and age of the trees. It, however, varies from 25-35 litres per tree a fortnight. The water must be free from salts.

In order to obtain maximum growth and optimum yields, it is important to supply the avocado with nutrients. It is however dangerous to give excessive amounts on any size of trees at one time as it leads to root damage, leaf burn and defoliation.

The type of fertiliser depends on soil pH. In the planting year, it is advisable not to top-dress the orchard since this may retard root development.

After this period, 60g of nitrogen fertiliser should be applied after every three months when the soil is moist. In addition, about 25 kg of well rotten manure should be spread around the trees. Use CAN and SSP every year.

The use of farmyard manure is recommended as it improves the physical condition of the soil. Avocado trees require potassium, magnesium and zinc.

The first yields can be expected in the third year after planting. The fruits do not soften on the trees when are mature and therefore it is not easy to determine the time of harvest by external appearance.

Maturity is determined by harvesting some fruits, which are assumed to be mature and stored at room temperature. If they soften within 12 days without shrivelling, they are ready for picking. Yields increase with the age of the tree.

A mature tree produces 2,000-3,000 fruits and a hectare can produce up to 30,000 tonnes annually. Avocados have a local market and an export market, mainly in Europe.

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