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Feedback: Using pepper as bio-pesticide

Wednesday September 4 2019

A farmer sprays pesticide on his tomato crops.

A farmer sprays pesticide on his tomato crops. Bio-pesticides are normally made from plant extracts and are thus not toxic to humans or livestock, do not kill natural enemies of pests and are cheap and easy to prepare if the materials are locally available. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
By SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
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HOW TO USE CHILIES, GINGER AND GARLIC BIOPESTICIDES

Please explain how one can use the following as pesticides: Pepper, garlic, ginger and Mexican marigold.

Farmer
Pepper, garlic, ginger and Mexican marigold can be used to make quality bio-pesticides. Bio-pesticides are normally made from plant extracts and are thus not toxic to humans or livestock, do not kill natural enemies of pests and are cheap and easy to prepare if the materials are locally available.

Pepper: Chop 500g of chilli, mix with five litres of water and leave for 24 hours or boil for it 20 minutes. Sieve the extract and add an extra five litres of water and an equal amount of soapy water to make 20 litres.

This is enough to spray half-an-acre. Use the correct ratio of chilli to water because high concentration may destroy the crop and avoid spraying on windy or hot weather.

Pepper or chilli is rich in capsaicin, which causes irritation of the digestive tract of insects and also repels them.

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Garlic: Crush 2kg of garlic and leave in 20 litres of water for 24 hours, sieve and spray. This is enough for half-an-acre. Garlic is rich in diallyl disulfide, which acts as a repellent and is toxic to insect pests.

Ginger: You will need 50g of ginger rhizome, 12ml of soap and three litres of water. Grind the ginger to make a paste, mix with water, add soap, sieve and spray.

Ginger contains gingerone, shogaols and gingerols and acts as a repellent. Target pests are aphids, thrips and whitefly.

Mexican marigold: Intercropping marigold with your crops can help repel pests like aphids. The roots of marigold produce alpha-terthinyl, which helps to curb nematodes.

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

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INCUBATOR PROBLEM

Kindly assist me to establish the problem with my 48-egg capacity incubator that I bought in 2013, which doesn't hatch eggs anymore.

Mathew

Use of egg incubators is a good means of having more chicks as compared to waiting for the hen. If the incubator was working well and then it becomes faulty, kindly consult the company that sold you the machine or any other selling them for technical assistance.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.
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I WANT TO KEEP GOATS

I am currently in Laikipia County. I have an interest in goat keeping for meat and milk. What is your advice on the marketability of goat milk before I commit resources?

Dadson

With the rise in human population and urbanisation, pressure on land is increasing. This means that land for practising agriculture is shrinking.

On the other hand, demand for food is rising. Goats require less space for housing, feed less compared to cows and fetch more money per litre of milk.

Meat goat breeds include the Small East African Goat, Galla and Boer goats while dairy goat breeds include Saanen, Toggenburg, and Alpine.

On marketing, it will depend on the volumes produced per day. If it’s small, you can sell in the neighbourhood. If the volumes are high, think of value addition and selling either through your own outlet in an urban area or get into an MoU with supermarkets.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.

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VEGETABLE FARM BUSINESS PLAN

I would like to start vegetable farming on four acres and I need a business plan to know how much I would be required to invest and the projected income. The only thing I have is water supply.

Joan Amallah

Please send me an email on [email protected] for details of what you need. We will be glad if you can organise a group of friends to make it economical to run a training on Professional Business Plan Development.

Dickson Otieno,
Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Agriculture and Agribusiness Management.

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DEALING WITH MOLES

I am Deborah Majiwa, a Kenyan who is deaf. I am interested in growing crops such as sukuma wiki, sweet potatoes, cassava and maize but the problem is wild rats (fuko), which destroy them. Kindly advise on how to kill them.

I believe you are talking about mole rats, which destroy many types of crops and can be a serious menace if not controlled.

There are many methods of controlling them, the most effective and environment-friendly being use of traps, which though effective can be tedious and it also requires a lot of patience. You can use factory-made traps or locally-made traps.

The locally made trap is made by fixing a 1m stick on the ground and bending it to form a loop, tying a thin wire onto the stick and then placed over the burrow entrance.

Place some green leaves on the entrance too. As the mole comes to seal or eat the leaves, it will be trapped. Rodenticides can also be used, though not recommended.

There are many rodenticides with different trade names, some contain zinc phosphide and are used as baits while those that contain aluminium phosphide are used as fumigants mainly to fumigate the burrows and kill the moles.

The rodenticides should be applied by a qualified person. Another method of controlling moles is by use of a mixture of cow dung and pepper placed in the burrows and then burning it.

You can also pour cattle or pig urine (which has been stored for one week) into the burrows and the smell will chase away the moles.

Lastly, you can plant ‘fish-bean plant’ (Tephrosia vogelii) by intercropping it with your crops and also as a hedge.

Tephrosia is a good source of pollen and is also used to control ticks in livestock. The roots of Tephrosia emit a poisonous substance that chases away the moles.

Tephrosia is also a legume and thus it fixes nitrogen into the soil thus improving soil fertility. However, its leaves are poisonous to livestock and human beings.

According to the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture, Tephrosia is a host for rootknot nematodes and, therefore, it should be uprooted after controlling the moles if it was intercropped with crops but if on the hedge it can be left.

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

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ALFAFA SEEDS

I am looking for alfalfa seeds.

Victor Mbombo, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Alfalfa is a high-quality, palatable, nutritious plant widely used as forage in livestock diet. It is rich in protein. In Tanzania, you can contact EASEED Arusha, a sister company of East African Seed Co. Ltd Kenya on +25527-2545756/5784, +255 2504184 or +255789589589.

The company supplies certified seeds including for pastures and fodders.

Felix Akatch Opinya,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.

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I NEED DOLICHOS LAB LAB SEEDS

Where can I buy huge quantities of the Dolichos lab lab seeds for sowing purposes?
Kajal Shah

You can get Dolichos lab lab seeds from Kenya Seed Company ([email protected] or 0722 205144 or 020 2215066), Dryland Seeds (044 21449) or Kalro Seed Unit.

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