There are two main sources of funds; credit or sale of shares.
I WANT TO ADD VALUE TO MILK
I want to know how to add value to my milk, particularly by making butter and ghee as a way of dodging middlemen who exploit farmers.
You can add value to your milk at home by making yoghurt, mala, ghee and cheese, which are nutritious dairy products.
Briefly, ghee is traditionally made by scooping cream from milk, which is then boiled and separated from the remaining liquid (buttermilk).
Buttermilk can be consumed or fed to animals as cream separation is done using a separator.
Cheese is made by separating curd from coagulated milk and squeezed to remove whey.
The curd is left overnight when placed in a perforated mould. It is then cut into sizable blocks, sprinkled with salt and put in 15 per cent salt solution.
This is ready cheese for consumption or sale. For more detailed training, consider emailing email@example.com to attend Value Added Dairy Processing training that will be conducted at Egerton University this year or visit the university’s Department of Food Science and Technology.
Felix Akatch Opinya,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.
I NEED SH4M TO START POULTRY BUSINESS
I have been contracted by one of the reputable poultry breeders, but unfortunately I have no capital.
Where can I get financial assistance? Please help because I need at least Sh4 million to keep 12,000 birds.
There are two main sources of funds; credit or sale of shares.
The sale of shares takes the form of bringing in a partner(s) to your planned business indicating how much of the capital he should raise.
This will have the advantage of bringing into the business additional skills and expertise to shape the management and that the risks will be spread out.
The business will also not face solvency challenges as the return to the investors are not fixed financial obligations, that is profit or dividends are only paid when the business makes money.
The ownership of the business will, however, be diluted and control is shared out to the partner(s) in terms of decision making and voting.
Debt financing is the other source of funding, which involves taking credit from lending institution.
This source has the advantage of giving to the borrower a tax shield in that the interest on loans is an allowable expense for tax purposes.
The source also does not dilute the ownership of the venture as lenders don’t participate in the affairs of the business nor share in the profits made.
The source, however, is entitled to a fixed term financial obligations and hence exposes the business to solvency risks in meeting the loan repayment installments.
Concerning the capital that you require to keep 12,000 birds, you need to first package your idea in a business plan.
The amount that you indicate of Sh4m is on the higher side unless there are other issues that you have not disclosed.
Assuming that the amount is actually needed by your business, Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) would be the preferred source of credit given its low interest rate and that they deal with farming loans.
It will also be important to read and take advantage of all the provisions in the contract with the poultry breeders on the financial arrangements plan.
You also need to explore the possibility of getting the stock of chicks on credit and actually if they can recover the cost as they buy the mature birds or eggs from you.
Dr Jackson Langat,
Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management Department, Egerton University.
POTATO AND SOYBEAN FARMING
I intend to venture into potato and soybean farming this season following frustration with maize.
I am in Nyahururu and I want to utilise one acre. This is what I want to know:
a. The best varieties of potato and soybean.
b. The cultural practices required for best returns.
c. Fertiliser (type, amount and stage of application).
d. Disease control measures.
e. Is it okay to intercrop the two crops?
Potatoes are the second most important food crop after maize in Kenya.
There are several varieties in the market, including Tigoni, Dutch Robijn, Desiree Kenya, Sifa B53/Roslin, Eburu Nyayo, Annett Roslin, Tana, Kenya Baraka, Kenya Dhamana, Bvumbwe, Kerr’s Pink, Kenya Karibu and Asante.
The varieties do well in all the potato growing regions, with the differentiating factors being the purpose of the crop, for instance, industrial processing such as in making crisps.
For this work, the red varieties like Dutch Robjin are the best and for ready market and chips processing, the Tigoni and majorly the white types are good.
For best returns from potatoes, you have to invest in nutrition and fertiliser because potato is a heavy feeder.
You need to use 200kg per acre of planting fertiliser (DAP) to get maximum yield of 10 to 15 tonnes per acre (up to 100 bags of 110kg).
The seed rate is 16 50kg bags per acre, that is, 800kg of certified seeds.
Potatoes do well in well-drained fertile soils and require rainfall amounts above 750mm. Plant potatoes on ridges spaced at 75 by 25 by 30cm.
Control diseases like bacterial wilt, late and early blight and major pests like tuber moth and aphids with recommended pesticides.
Proper control of weeds is also recommended and it is not good to intercrop potato with soya beans or any other crop. Maximum yield is realised as a pure stand.
On the other hand, soya bean is a highly nutritious legume that grows well in altitude of 0 to 2,000m above sea level and need rainfall of 400mm per annum.
It does well in well-drained fertile soils rich in calcium and a pH of 5.6 to 7 and need spacing of 30 by 15cm.
Available varieties include Hill, Perry 41, Black Hawk, Red Tanner, Composite and Nyala, among others.
Being a legume, soya bean can fix nitrogen and does not require a lot of fertiliser during planting.
Some 40kg of DAP during planting is enough with a seed rate of 25kg per acre. It can be intercropped with cereals like maize but not potatoes.
Control serious pests like African bollworm, cotton aphids, bean fly with systemic insecticides, and also look out for diseases like soya bean mosaic virus by controlling aphids and planting virus free seeds.
Other diseases like bacterial blight and downey mildew should be controlled with recommended pesticides. With proper agronomic practices and management, you can get 200 to 400kg per acre.
Crops, Horticulture and Soils Department, Egerton University.
MAKING OWN POULTRY FEEDS
I am a poultry farmer based in Kakamega County and I will very much appreciate if you can educate me on how to process my own chicken feeds as commercial ones have become expensive.
Take note your poultry requires water, carbohydrates, fat and oil, protein, vitamins and mineral nutrients.
The percentage requirement of each nutrient varies with the age of your chickens and whether they are broilers or layers.
These factors will determine how you formulate your feed rations.
You did not indicate the kind of chicken feed you intend to make, that is, chick mash (one to four weeks), layers’ mash (18 weeks and above), broiler starter feed (one to four weeks) or broilers growers since each has different nutrients composition that will dictate how you formulate the ration.
However, the following are the sources of various nutrients:
1) Carbohydrates: Maize, wheat, sorghum, barley and cassava.
2) Proteins: Cereal by-products (maize bran, maize and wheat germ); plant protein or oil seed meal (soybean, sunflower seed, cotton seed, coconut oil and peanut meals); blood meal; fish meal; dried poultry manure; poultry hatchery byproducts (cooked and dried eggshells, infertile and unhatched eggs and culled chicks.
3) Minerals: Limestone (38 per cent calcium), dicalcium phosphate (21 per cent calcium) and rock phosphate (18 per cent phosphorous).
4) Vitamins: Green grass and green plants.
The sources of the above nutrients can easily be obtained from flour millers, local feed outlets and grains market. Concerning the training, kindly get in touch with any agricultural training institution.
Charles Kairu Wanjohi,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University,
Different classes of birds have different nutrient requirements, which have to be considered when formulating rations.
The different classes include chicks, growers and layers, which require crude protein of 20 per cent, 18 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively and energy content of 2,900 kcal ME/kg (calorie content).
Generally, various materials may be used depending on availability.
Whole maize, maize bran, wheat bran and wheat pollard may be used as energy sources. Oilseed cakes (sunflower, canola, cotton or linseed cake) and fishmeal as the protein sources.
Mineral sources include lime and salt. Limiting amino acids such as methionine and lysine are found in small quantities in the protein sources and must be included as ingredients.
Ensure the crude fibre in the diets is below 9 per cent for layers, 7 per cent for growers and 5 per cent for chicks.
Coccidiostat must be added to the chicks’ diet to help in controlling coccidiosis.
The mixing ratios of the ingredients to attain the required composition will depend on the available material and their nutrient content.
Sophie Miyumo, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University
How do I make my own manure? We breed rabbits and the waste is mixed with the hay they feed plus the faecal matter.
I pour some urine on the waste, but nothing seems to happen to the heap. How do I make it loose and good for farming?
Composting organic matter is a process of natural decay, which is carried out by microorganisms present in the material.
The microorganisms require optimal conditions for accelerated decomposition.
These conditions include optimal temperatures, moisture, sources of nitrogen and consistency of the material.
To control temperatures, ensure you locate your compost in a warm area, free from strong winds, direct sun and rain.
You should also reduce the size of the hay beddings by chopping to increase the surface area the microorganism will act on.
Common sources of nitrogen for the microorganisms are urine, faecal and plant materials.
Avoid using a lot of urine as this may affect the consistency of the compost lowering microorganisms’ activity.
Routinely turn your materials probably weekly to ensure all are acted on as well as providing the microorganisms with fresh nutrients.
Wangui, James Chege, Department of Animal Sciences,
FOCUS ON POULTRY
Thank you for your informative focus on poultry last week. Kindly do informative stories on pig farming.
EDITOR: Thank you for your support and keep reading. Look for the articles on pig farming in next issues.
I need the contact of John Osodo of Nyatike, who is growing watermelons. I need to get in touch with him.
EDITOR: Reach the farmer on 0702168180.
I am very grateful for answering my question on land on February 28. Keep up enlightening people on this sensitive issue.
EDITOR: Thank you for your support and keep reading.
Kindly give me the contacts of Simon Mbugua, the potato seed farmer in Molo.
EDITOR: Reach Mbugua through his wife Ann on 0722691245
DAIRY GOAT FARMER
I am interested in what Charles Wathobio, who rears Alphine goats in Rongai, Nairobi, does.
My name is Flo Muriuki, kindly assist me reach him.
EDITOR: Wathobio can be reached on 0722979075.
THE BEAUTY OF KEEPING GEESE
Please help me the contacts of Harrison Wesa of Kakamega. I would like to buy some geese from him.
Editor: Talk to Wesa on 0711517429.
MORE THAN EGGS FROM CHICKENS
I am from Lanet, Nakuru and I was impressed by Mary Wairimu’s story. I would wish to visit her farm in Umoja.
I am interested in getting in touch with Mary Wairimu of Nakuru. Kindly pass her cell phone number.
I am Eliphas and I want to know how to get in touch with Mary Wairimu from Nakuru. I need education on poultry farming since I want to venture into the trade.
EDITOR: Mary is available on 0733907499.
I am from Murang’a and I would like to be connected to a avocado farmer for lessons.
EDITOR: Talk to Nyakundi, an avocado farmer, on 0725407226.
CONNECT ME WITH A RABBIT FARMER
Please link me to an established rabbit farmer so that I can learn from him.
EDITOR: Talk to Pillar Group on 0719659551.
ASK THE EXPERTS
Do you have any question or enquiry on agribusiness, marketing, logistics, processing, innovation, and technology?
Our pool of experts from Egerton University will respond to your questions with proper advice.
Please send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read us online at www.nation.co.ke/seeds of gold