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Feedback: Tips on farming garlic profitably

Tuesday March 19 2019

Garlic does well in areas with an altitude of 500-2,000m above sea level.

Garlic does well in areas with an altitude of 500-2,000m above sea level. The best temperature for garlic production is 12-24°C, while very high temperatures are not suitable as they interfere with production. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

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Kindly enlighten me on the best way of growing garlic and the climatic condition in which it thrives.
Gideon Biwott

Garlic will do well in areas with an altitude of 500-2,000m above sea level. The best temperature for garlic production is 12-24°C.

Very high temperatures are not suitable as they interfere with production. Excess rainfall and humidity interfere with garlic development.

If grown under irrigation, garlic requires water in the early stages of development. Soils should be fertile, well-drained and light.

Avoid heavy soils like clay as they interfere with bulb development. The soil pH should be between 5.5 and 6.8. Garlic is propagated vegetatively from cloves.


The spacing between the rows should be 30cm and within the rows 15cm. Garlic responds well to application of well-decomposed manure before planting. Application of CAN and NPK 17:17:17 will help boost the yield.

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


I am Ayub Mwang'ombe, a first-time rice farmer at Kidimu in Lunga Lunga, Kwale County. Farmers in this area depend on rainfall to plant paddy rice year in, year out.

My first question is, which is the best rice variety to plant that requires less seeds and yields highly? Also, put us in touch with an organisation we can contact to get seeds.

Secondly, share the names of rice varieties that we can plant during dry seasons and the organisation we can contact to get seeds?

Third, which modern technology/machines can we incorporate from planting to harvesting rice that would reduce labour costs and increase yields. Share the names of companies that import and sell them?

Several varieties can do well under the conditions described. However, I recommend Arize Tej Gold, Arize 6444 Gold from Bayer Crop Science and IR 2793 from MIAD-Mwea centre.

For a dry period, plant Nerica’s (New Rice for Africa) developed by African Rice Centre (ARC). NERICA 1, NERICA 4, NERICA 10 and NERICA 11 have been tested and found to yield more in upland conditions.

They averagely yield 3.5 to 5.0 t/ha. You can contact Kalro-Mwea for seed supply. As for the machines, I recommend that you visit Mwea Irrigation Agricultural Development Centre at the Mwea Irrigation Scheme where there are different varieties.

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



I would like to know the best wheat variety that can be planted in Ol Kalou, Nyandarua County.


There are a number of wheat varieties that are widely grown by small and large-scale farmers. The choice of suitable wheat variety depends on the quality of the grain, yield potential and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses such as drought, acidic soils, pre-harvest sprouting, tolerance to stem and yellow rusts and insect pests.

Wheat varieties like Kenya Wren, Kenya Korongo, Njoro BW2, Kenya Sunbird, Eagle 10 and Kenya Kingbird are among the high-yielding genotypes with yield range of 6-8.5 tonnes/ha.

Among these, Kenya Wren and Njoro BW2 are suitable for acidic soils, Eagle 10 and K and Kingbird are early maturing and recommended for areas with short rainy seasons.

Resistance to rust disease is a key attribute when selecting a good wheat variety. Among these varieties, Kenya Wren, Kenya Tai, Kenya Sunbird, Kenya Kingbird and Eagle are known to be moderately resistant to stem rust, which is a major wheat disease across East Africa.

Apart from being among the high-yielding varieties, Kenya Kingbird is notably suitable for areas with short rains and has good tolerance to stem and yellow rust diseases.

In terms of market value, most of these varieties are suitable for both industrial and home baking. However, a farmer is advised to choose a variety based on the millers’ preference for specific baking qualities.

Wheat can be sowed either by broadcasting or drilling. However, broadcasting is not encouraged because of uneven distribution of seeds, leading to wastage.

Seed drilling using calibrated planters on well-prepared soil is recommended because it is easy to maintain a specific spacing and seed rate.

Farmers may be required to hire planters, which are mainly tractor-drawn, especially for large pieces of land.

To get more information about wheat varieties, including production technologies and cost of seeds, please contact the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro), Njoro.

The centre is mandated by the government to conduct wheat research in conjunction with other partners and to advise farmers.

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



My name is Omuferen Larry. I'm a medium-scale fish farmer in Nigeria. I'm really interested in getting training on how to use black soldier fly larvae to make feeds for my fish and birds. Any information you can share will be highly appreciated.

There has been an increasing interest in the use of black soldier fly larvae as a protein source in formulation of animal feeds.

This is because the larvae provide high quality protein, it’s easy to propagate and uses waste as substrate, which is readily available.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.



I have been rearing turkeys for a while. Currently, I have 10 mature ones. Where can I get market for the birds? I want to start rearing them on large-scale.

Sau, Nyeri

Rearing turkeys is a good business because their incubation period is 28 days and one hen can hatch 10-15 young ones.

The ratio of males to females is 1:5, the egg production cycle is 24 weeks, marketable weight for males and females is about 8 and 6kg respectively after about five months in males and six months’ females. At this age, the male would have consumed about 25kg of feeds and the female about 20kg.

The market price is Sh2,000-Sh3,000 depending on size. It’s important to do a market survey so that you are not stranded when the birds are ready for sale.
During the festive season, big hotels are a good market for meat. You can also sell eggs, which fetch good money too. It is important to note that consistency in market supply is key, meaning that you need to plan your farm in such a way that you have birds to sell every time the buyer wants, depending on how you agree.

The advantage of doing it large-scale is that you have power to bargain on feed costs and market prices, among others

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.