From soil-less farming to quails: Ask and you’ll be answered - Daily Nation

From soil-less farming to quails: Ask and you’ll be answered

Saturday March 15 2014

Chicks in an incubator. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | FILE



Thanks for the good job. I want to venture into poultry farming, could you advise me on how to go about it?

Conrad Shiare

Thank you Conrad for your question. What type of poultry farming are you interested in? – Quails, Chickens (broilers or layers), Turkeys etc? Conduct a market survey to identify your potential customers and what product they are interested in i.e. eggs or chicken meat or even quails.

You will need some start-up capital to construct a house, purchase initial stock, feeders and drinkers.

— For more information on poultry farming please contact Dr Mary Ambula of Egerton University on [email protected]

Milling Plant

Thank you for Seeds of Gold. Thanks to your dedicated team, my Saturdays will always be bright.

I’m interested in starting up a milling plant in my area. It will be processing maize meal, dairy meal and chicken feed. I would like to know the availability and the cost of a machine that will be able to do this. Secondly I would like to get detailed information about the process of preparing the above especially adding minerals to the products and enriching them.


Thank you Edwin for your question. To have a milling plant you require a three-phase power line and a steady supply of raw material. You may also need to consult an animal nutritionist to formulate the various rations for you.

— For more information on feed milling please contact Dr Mary Ambula of Egerton University on [email protected]

Mushrooms and strawberry

Thank you for introducing this very informative pullout in the Saturday Nation. I look forward to Saturdays just to get my copy. I would like to request for comprehensive information on mushroom and strawberry farming.

Nancy Dayo

— For comprehensive information on mushroom farming, contact Prof Nyokabi Wagara of Egerton University on [email protected] For strawberries contact [email protected] and you will be given an extension officer who will take you through the steps to success.

Rabbit farming

I would like to thank you for the information you are giving us through Seeds of Gold. I am keen on starting rabbit farming, but I have no idea on how to start. Would you kindly give me some tips, such as on the best breeds to rear and how to take care of them?


Thank you Ann for your question. Rabbits are very easy to keep. They require very little space and are not difficult to feed. To keep rabbits you need to construct a raised house (hutches) first.

Several breeds are available e.g. Kenya White, New Zealand White or Chinchilla among others. You may want to visit the Rabbit Section at Tatton Agriculture Park (Egerton University, Njoro Campus) to get first hand information on how rabbits are kept.

— For more information please contact Dr Mary Ambula of Egerton University at [email protected]


I am a young Kenyan from a pastoralist community in Trans Mara. I would like to start a dairy farm. My biggest challenge is where to get capital, since the only thing that I have is land. How can I access financial assistance?

Thanks for your question I would advise you to seek financial assistance from Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) in Narok or in Bomet Town since you have land as the only resource, which may act as collateral.

In addition, being a young Kenyan, you need to form a youth group in your area and develop a workable proposal for dairy farming business so that you may benefit from the Uwezo Fund from the government. This is because capital to an individual in Kenya without collateral is a problem.

How many cows do you currently have whether local or improved breeds? If you have some, then you need to begin with it by constantly using Artificial Insemination to improve them so that within a few years you would be having better breeds of dairy cows and gain experience in various aspects regarding dairy farming through learning by doing approach.

— Evans Ngenoh, assistant lecturer; Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management, Egerton University. Email: [email protected])

Macadamia and avocado

Thank you for the good information you share with us in Seeds of Gold. I want to plant macadamia and avocado on my two-acre piece of land. But accessing credit is my problem. Please advise.

James Karuna, Njoro

Thank you James for your question. I guess that planting fruit trees do require little capital resources which you can access from various financial institutions within Nakuru County. You can also approach the exporting companies that include Njoro Canning and other interested companies which may engage you though contractual services hence easing the burden of the required capital.

Furthermore, you can work on another crop or livestock enterprise on the two-acre piece of land that you find easy and cheap to operate as you accumulate and look for sources of finances to kick-start the avocado and macadamia enterprise. Finally, you can start with a small piece of land and expand with time towards covering the whole two acres.

—Evans Ngenoh

Lack of market

I am a horticultural farmer based in Machakos County. Mainly I grow mangoes, oranges and pawpaws. I harvest an average of three to five tons of each variety per season. The main challenge I get is lack of market for my produce as I have to accept the low prices offered by middlemen.

May Mutua

Thanks for your question. It’s very vital for farmers to get better and more sustainable share of the final retail price. As a fruit farmer, you must have unique selling points that can give better prices. This will require a consistent branding of what mangoes, oranges, and pawpaws agriculture is all about.

Moreover, this will have to be backed up by the ability to verify that it is labelled, quality assured and that it lives up to its promise every time. Furthermore, for explicit marketing support, there is a need to emphasis on developing cooperatives, farmer organisations, business associations, and entrepreneurships to capture and add value to your produce in order to overcome high marketing costs and to harness the market potential.

Finally, supporting the development of basic institutions and infrastructure within Machakos County would create an enabling environment for agribusiness, hence minimising information asymmetry along the agricultural product marketing chain.

—Evans Ngenoh

EDITOR: The questions on soil testing, organic farming and citrus fruits will be answered next week.

Crocodile farming

Please advise me where I can get information and assistance on crocodile farming, and also how much and from where to buy small crocodiles or their eggs.

Sam Chege

Chege, crocodile farming is practised in Kenya on a very limited scale. I would advise that you contact the Kenya Wildlife Service for more information. There is also a farm in Mombasa, Mamba Village, keeping crocodiles

— Bockline Bebe, Professor of livestock production. Emails: [email protected] and [email protected]

Hydroponic technology

I would like to contact Wachira Mwangi and Sam Mbugua for more information on hydroponic technology.

Nicodemus Bosire

I am a young upcoming dairy farmer in Uasin Gishu County. I keep five dairy animals, but my biggest challenge has been fodder for the cows. I would like to meet the innovative crew behind the hydroponic technology as I believe this is the solution to my enterprise. Their contacts will be of much help to me.

Joel Ruto

My name is Anthony and I am interested in hydroponic farming. Could you please put me in touch with the two gentlemen? Thank you.

Miako Mararo

I read about hydroponic farming (Saturday Nation, March 8, 2014). I’m interested in this. Please send me contacts.

Duncan Ogada

I was inspired by Mr Wachira Mwangi’s hydroponic farming. I would like to know more about it plus his contacts.

Anthony Kiarie.

I am a clinical officer from Kirinyaga County. I am a consistent reader of Saturday Nation, especially ‘Seeds of Gold.’ I would like to know about hydroponic agriculture and the rearing of pigs using barley grown through hydroponics. I want to meet Wachira Mbugua and Sam Mwangi as soon as possible.

Macharia Muriithi

I read the story of the two young farmers. Please give me their contacts.

Saidi Mur

I was quite interested by the article appearing in your Saturday Nation about urban farming. It’s a story about two young farmers growing fodder for livestock using hydroponic technology, and they’re are located at Mwiki. I would like to contact them.

Luka from Naivasha.

Thanks very much Saturday Nation for the ‘Seeds of Gold’ magazine. I would like to learn more about the hydroponic farming on growing barley to feed my cows. How can I get in touch with Samuel Mbugua and Wachira Mwangi in Mwiki?

Erastus Weru

I came across the story of Wachira Mwangi and Samuel Mbugua keeping pigs. Please give me their phone number as I want to visit them.

Thomas Thiongo

Greetings from me here in Nakuru. My name is Solomon Mukunza. I would love to get more information about growing barley to feed my cows through hydroponics. How much does it cost?

Solomon Mukunza

EDITOR: You can reach Wachira Mwangi on 0722 522168 for further enquiries on hydroponics farming.


Thanks a lot for your good work in enlightening the nation in the field of farming with your new magazine ‘Seeds of Gold’. I would like to know how I can grow worms to feed my chicken. I understand that worms boost immunity in the chicken and are also a source of protein.

Angela Tamiru.

EDITOR: Dr Mariam Mwangi, who is an expert in growing worms to make compost for organic farming, can be reached on [email protected]

Fish Farming

I live in Kiserian, in Kajiado County, and would want to contact an expert in small-scale fish farming. Kindly connect me with one. I read ‘Seeds of Gold’ and I want to start a fish project.

Nelson Maina

EDITOR: Please contact the person below:

In last week’s ‘Seeds of Gold’, there was a farmer from Kiserian who was seeking information on fish farming. I work in the aquaculture sector where I mostly offer advice to practising and upcoming small-scale farmers. I do this through direct contact, e-extension, through my videos on Youtube (channel: munalaFISH), and also through my website:

Wilson Munala Mathia

EDITOR: We featured Joyce Makaka, a small-scale fish farmer two weeks ago, and she may have some advice that could help. Her number is 0721 840084

‘Seeds of Gold’ has made the Saturday Nation newspaper a must read. Please let me know how I can contact the Midlands chairman, Mr Wainaina.

Justus R Kabuu, Murang’a County

EDITOR: Mr Junghae Nderitu can be reached on 0722510294. His e-mail is [email protected]

Kuroiler Roosters

I’m David from Mombasa and I was impressed by the article on the new breed of chicken, Kuroiler (Saturday Nation, February 15, 2014). I would like to know how and where I can get the breed. I come from Homa Bay County and I’m planning on rearing the Kuroiler there.

David Nyarega

Please let us know about the availability and price of Kuroiler roosters, chicks and fertile eggs from Uganda.

Capt D N Muneene

EDITOR: Thank you for your inquiry on the Kuroiler chicken. You can email Dr Mary Muchunguh for more information on [email protected]

Mushroom farming

My name is Anthony Kiano Wangui, a first year student at Kenyatta University, pursuing a degree in Environmental Planning and Management. I am an avid reader of ‘Seeds of Gold.’ I have a desire to engage in mushroom farming. I have done research on where I can acquire the seeds for planting — at Juja and at Egerton University — the timeframe for the plants growth and maturity and got to know the rough capital estimate required to start this process. I, however, would like know more on the mushroom market.

Anthony Kiano

Editor: Mr Daniel Rotich of Del’s Farm, which we have featured in the past, cultivates mushrooms for export and plans to open a training centre for farmers. His telephone number is 0721 262725


I congratulate Saturday Nation for coming up with the ‘Seeds of Gold’. It is indeed informative to farmers. I wish to seek advice on custard apple farming in Kenya. This is with regard to major growing areas and capacity yields.

Albert Ndirangu

EDITOR: Mr Peter Wambugu, who we have featured in the past, has a thriving apple farm in Nyeri and may advise on this. His phone number is 0720 789802.

Green houses

We have a 10-acre piece of land on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway and we are interested in putting up greenhouses and a poultry unit. We need expert advice and professional guidance.

Munira Hassan

I am a small-scale farmer looking for a 24×8m green house donor

Jeremiah Njugi, Nyahururu

Editor: Gilad Millo, head of public relations for Amiran, which deals with green houses, may give you some tips on the green house side of things. His telephone number is 0733 660002

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: [email protected]