Category Archives: Agriculture

Committee formed to address rivalry and sugarcane hawking in Western Province


KAKAMEGA

Wednesday, 14th March 2012  By Joseph Chitwa

Rivalry between sugar companies in western province is getting murky as some sugar millers engage unscrupulous means of competition to lock out their competitors from the market.

West Kenya Sugar Company has so far undergone a loss of ksh20 million in a span of one year due to destruction of its vehicles and tractors by hired goons who are believed to be working for the rival companies.

According to the Agricultural Services Manager at West Kenya Sugar Company Mr. George Sagala, yesterday alone the company lost Sh. 9.8 million after goons hired by a rival company attacked the company workers in different farms, beat up cane loaders and dismantled tractors pouring salt into the engines, making transportation of cane from the farm to the company impossible hence leaving the cane to dry in the farms.

Farmers not on contract with the companies have for a long time been lamenting over exploitation by some millers who do not allow them to sell their cane to millers of their choice under the guise of protecting their sugar zones.

This has subjected cane farmers to poverty since most of the times their cane is impounded and milled without payment.

Last week representatives from four sugar millers, provincial security heads and representatives from the Kenya Sugar Board met in Kakamega as a result of continued scuffle in the sugar industry in the region that has left cane farmers poor to come up with ways of streamlining cane farming in the region.

A 14 member committee chaired by the Western Provincial Commissioner (PC), Mr. Samuel Kilele, the Provincial Director of Agriculture Mr. Cheruiyot, representatives from KSB and cane millers was formed.

The committee is expected to submit its report by 20th of this month, on amicable ways of solving the bitter rivalry in the sugar industry, and liberate cane farmers who have been the biggest losers in the continued controversy.

 

 

 

 

Cost sharing programme lauched to promote aquaculture


KAKAMEGA Wednesday, January 11, 2012

By Chris Mahandara.

The ministry of fisheries has come up with a cost sharing programme with farmers to lower the cost of fish production in Western Province. Under the programme, the government shall stock 300 fingerlings per fish pond in the area at the same time provide 40% of feeds for every farmer. The farmers would in turn be expected to meet the 60% cost of feeds and stock an additional 700 fingerlings per pond. Western Provincial Fisheries Officer Mr. Aggrey Busiega said the move is expected to woo more farmers into fish farming to promote development of aquaculture in the area. Mr. Busiega added that the government has also purchased fish feeds pelletizing machines which have been given to farmers in four clusters. The machines, he said are expected to lower the cost of feeds from Sh. 65 per kilogram to less than Sh. 40 at the same time ensure that feeds are readily available for the farmers. In an interview with Kakamegatimes today, Mr. Busiega disclosed that government has constructed 24 reservoirs in the province which will also be stocked with fish alongside other water bodies in the area. The reservoirs constructed under the Economic Stimulus programme would be managed by the communities.

New rice variety introduced in western province


KAKAMEGA

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

By Chris Mahandara.

A rain fed rice species that promises to boost food production in the four counties of Western Province has been introduced in the area by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Japanese Agency for International Development (JICA). The fast maturing and high yielding rice known as New Rice for Africa (Nerica) is ideal for small scale farmers since it requires little labour, capital and land to produce. Western Provincial Director of Agriculture (PDA) Mr. John Cheruiyot said through partnership with JICA rice milling machines will be in all the four counties to process the rice. He appealed to more farmers in the area to grow the crop to boost food security and empower themselves economically. He said the ministry of agriculture and JICA has introduced the rice in the area through the Rice Shiba Committee to boost food security and earn income for the local farmers. So far in the province, Rice is only being grown in parts of Busia and Teso. Mr. Cheruiyot made the remarks at Shisiru divisional headquarters in Kakamega central district where he witnessed the ground breaking ceremony of a site where one of the rice mills will be installed. Speaking during the same occasion, Kakamega County Council Vice chairman Councilor Dickson Ashivika said the rice will serve as an alternative subsistence crop for the region predominantly under maize and sugarcane.

Bumper harvest expected in Mt. Elgon


MT. ELGON

Thursday, 24th November 2011 By Kakamegatimes.

400,000 bags of maize are expected to be harvested in Mt. Elgon and Cheptais district this season up from 250,000 bags last season.

Mt. Elgon district Agricultural officer Sammy Cheminingwa said the production projection of cereal went up due to concerted efforts by stakeholders and the government that provided subsidies fertilizer.

The Kapsokwony depot national cereal and produce board has started buying maize from local farmers at a cost of Kshs. 3000 per 90kg bag of maize.

The depot manager Joseph Ngeno said so far the centre has purchased 250 90 kg bags of dry maize from local producers.

However he said due to heavy rains pounding the area, the cereal produce had been affected by high moisture and rotting of the cereals prompting a high post harvest damages and wastes.

Ngeno further pointed out hat the government had procured 1680 50 kg fertilizers at a cost of Kshs. 2500 per bag to local farmers to improve their productions.

 

Fish farming on course to meet stimulus project targets


KAKAMEGA Monday, 7th November 2011

By Chris Mahandara.

The fish farming project aimed at improving nutrition and creating over 120,000 employment and income generating opportunities has been one of the most successful components of the economic stimulus programme launched by the finance ministry in 2009.

Over 40, 000 fish ponds have been constructed in140 constituencies at an estimated cost of Kshs.1.12 billion (Kshs.8 million per constituency).

The youth within the benefiting constituencies provided the labour. Stocking the ponds with appropriate fingerlings was determined by the various eco-climatic zones and the needs of the beneficiaries.

The developed fish ponds and aquaculture has greatly boosted fish production for subsistence consumption and commerce in the country.

Additionally, it has improved environmental conservation and eased pressure on traditional fish sources: rivers, lakes and the ocean.

Fisheries secretary Prof. Charles Ngugi says the production of on farm fish shot from 1, 000 metric tonnes in 2009 to 9,000 metric tonnes in 2010.

This year, he adds the ministry of fisheries development projects a production of 15, 000 metric tonnes.

Kenya, he says has a potential of producing over 20, 000 metric tonnes of fish from fish ponds if aquaculture is fully embraced.

The current production, he says is still very low because the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recommends capita consumption of fish per person at 8.5 kgs.

“We are still miles away because on average every Kenyan consumes 4kgs of fish annually,” says the fisheries secretary.

The ministry, he disclosed has launched an eat fish campaign to popularize fish as a delicacy across the country and ensure a ready market for farmers who have embraced fish farming as a business.

Highly nutritious feeds, he says are a necessity for success in aquaculture in Kenya. A proper feeding regime ensures that fish are ready for sale in good time.

However the high cost of feeds has pushed many farmers away dealing a major blow to the expansion of aquaculture in the country.

As a result, the government has procured fish feed pelleting machines for fish farmers across the country to reduce the cost of feeds and promote aquaculture.

The fisheries Secretary says the machines which are being given to the farmers in clusters would enable them to use available materials to produce feeds for their fish.

The move, he says is aimed at reducing the cost of feeds to bring more farmers on board.

He attributes the high prices to lack of enough feed manufacturers in the country adding that the government has encouraged the millers to produce more feeds for supply to farmers.

Speaking during a tour of fish ponds sponsored by ESP in Kakamega County, Prof. Ngugi said there was ready market for fish in the country urging farmers to produce more for local consumption and the export.

He said fish farming was quickly gaining popularity even in the most unlikely places. Kakamega County for example which is known for its production of indigenous chicken, a delicacy among the Luhya community has now embraced fish farming.

At least one in every ten homesteads has a fish pond for production of table fish and for sale.

Kakamega County Deputy Fisheries Officer Mr. Jonathan Masaba says through the Economic Stimulus Project, 2, 700 ponds have been constructed in the county’s nine constituencies.

Mr. Masaba adds that the government engaged and paid youth to do the ponds at the same time supplied fingerlings and feeds to farmers to start the project.

So far all the farmers who benefited from the project have harvested fish weighing 200g-700g and earned money which they have ploughed back into the project.

Apart from creating employment for the youth, most farmers in the area have now seen the benefit of rearing fish since it takes only 6-8 months to harvest and has a ready market.

But this was not easy, according to the fisheries officer. Introducing fish in poultry dominated land was not without challenges.

“We took time to sensitize farmers on the economical and health benefits of fish before they embraced aquaculture,” he says.

Through eat fish campaigns, farmers in the area have been taught on how to cook and serve fish which is a rich source of proteins.

 

Mrs. Joyce Makaka, an authenticated fingerlings producer in Lurambi constituency says the project has been very profitable.

Makaka, who got into fish farming by chance, has never looked back. From very humble beginnings with a pond sponsored by the ESP programme she has since diversified into fingerlings production.

She is one of the 10 authenticated fingerlings producers. Recently Makaka won a Sh. 1.5 million tender to supply fingerlings to the government for distribution to farmers.

“Fish farming is a lucrative business. You cannot compare it to maize or sugarcane farming given the small pieces of land in this area,” she says.

She abandoned maize farming two years ago to fully concentrate on fish farming a move she says has started bearing fruit.

“I would spend a lot of money on maize but the yields could hardly sustain my family,” she observes.

Makaka has since employed 15 youths who work on her fish farm. The youth group known as Mabua has been trained on fish husbandry.

It now constructs fish ponds and assists farmers harvest fish in Lurambi constituency and its environs.

They in turn use the proceeds to fund their development projects among them building their own houses and venturing into income generating activities.

“Our goal is to ensure that each member has an iron sheet roofed house first before we venture into other activities,” says Chrispinus Litiona the group chairman.

Fisheries secretary Prof. Charles Ngugi says apart from empowering farmers economically, the ESP programme has created employment for similar groups across western province.

“This means a reduction in crime and drug abuse because our youth are now engaged and making money at the same time,” he said.

Even though fish farming in Kakamega, Vihiga, Busia and Bungoma has been a success, the government is determined to scale up the programme to bring more farmers on board.

The ministry has come up with a cost sharing programme with farmers to lower the cost of fish production in Western Province.
Under the programme, the government shall stock 300 fingerlings per fish pond in the area at the same time provide 40% of feeds per farmer.

The farmers would in turn be expected to meet the 60% cost of feeds and stock 700 fingerlings per pond.

Western Provincial Fisheries Officer Mr. Aggrey Busiega said the move is expected to woo more farmers into fish farming to promote development of aquaculture in the area.

Mr. Busiega added that the government has also purchased fish feeds pelletizing machines which have been given to farmers in four clusters.

The machines, he said are expected to lower the cost of feeds from Sh.65 per kilogram to less than Sh. 40 at the same time ensure that feeds are readily available for the farmers.

Speaking today at Munyaza Fish Farm in Kakamega central district, Mr. Busiega added that the government has constructed 24 reservoirs in the province which will also be stocked with fish alongside other water bodies in the area.

The reservoirs constructed under the Economic Stimulus programme would be managed by the communities.

The government said has embarked on fingerlings production, feed production adding that this financial year a fish processing plant would be established in the area.

Reverend Charles Moreka proprietor of Munyanza Fish farm urged farmers to venture into fish farming since it was more profitable.

Rev. Moreka who is also the secretary general of the Aquaculture Association of Kenya made Sh. 500, 000 out of today’s harvest.

Lower Western Regional Commissioner Mr. Patrick Okwanyo urged farmers in the area to fully embrace fish farming since it was key in alleviating poverty.

“We have small pieces of land which can hardly produce enough food for our families but through fish farming we can bridge food shortage in the province,” he said.

Government steps in to reduce the cost of fish feeds


KAKAMEGA        Saturday, September 17, 2011

By Chris Mahandara.

The government has procured feed pelleting machines for fish farmers across the country to reduce the cost of feeds and promote aquaculture.

Fisheries Secretary Prof. Charles Ngugi said the machines which shall be given to the farmers in clusters would enable them to use available materials to produce feeds for their fish.

Prof. Ngugi said the government was determined to reduce the cost of feeds which has dealt a major blow to the promotion of aquaculture since majority of the farmers cannot afford.

He attributed the high prices to lack of enough feed manufacturers in the country adding that the government was in talks with the millers to produce more feed for supply to farmers.

Speaking during a tour of fish ponds sponsored by the Economic Stimulus Projects (ESP) in Kakamega County, Prof. Ngugi said since the inception of the project which saw over 63, 000 ponds constructed farm fish production has gone up.

The production, he said shot from 1, 000 metric tonnes in 2009 to 9,000 metric tonnes in 2010. This year the ministry projects a production of 15, 000 metric tonnes.

He said this has reduced pressure on Lake Victoria and other inland water bodies adding that there was potential of producing up to 20, 000 metric tonnes.

The current production, he said was still low because the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recommends capita consumption of fish per person at 8.5 kgs.

“We are still miles away because on average every Kenyan consumes 4kgs of fish annually,” said the fisheries secretary.

The ministry, he disclosed has launched an eat fish campaign to popularize fish as a delicacy across the country and ensure a ready market for farmers who have embraced fish farming as a business.

Joyce Makaka, an authenticated fingerlings producer in Lurambi said the project has been very profitable.

She added that is has enabled her to employ 15 youths who work on her fish farm. The youth group which has been trained on fish husbandry now constructs fish ponds and assists farmers harvest fish in Lurambi constituency.

Research launched to revive growth of traditional crops


KAKAMEGA       Saturday, September 17, 2011

By Chris Mahandara.

The government through the Kenya Agricultural Productivity Programme
(KAPAP) has allocated Sh. 24 million to scale up research and
production of traditional crops.
Under the programme dubbed vegetable value chain project, research
would be undertaken to revive growth of traditional vegetables,
indigenous mushrooms, cowpeas, pumpkins, French beans, night shade,
spider plant and amaranth.
Mt. Kenya University, the leading agent in the implementation of the
project has partnered with the University of Nairobi, Egerton
University, Chuka University College, Bondo University College, Kenya
Industrial Research Development Institute (KIRDI) and the National
Museums of Kenya to undertake the project.
Mt. Kenya University Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of research and
development Prof. John Huria Nderitu said so far seven centers in
Kilifi, Nyeri, Siaya, Embu, Butere, Homabay and Tharaka have been set
up to undertake research on production of quality seeds.
Prof. Nderitu said the aim of the project which targets mainly small
scale farmers is to bring back on the forefront traditional highly
nutritious indigenous vegetables whose production has nosedived over
the years.
Speaking during the official launch of the project at Bukura
Agricultural training college in Kakamega County, Prof. Nderitu said
through the project farmers would be assisted to find markets for
their produce both locally and internationally to boost their income.
He added that campaigns would be intensified across the country to
sensitize farmers on the need to revert to the traditional crops known
for their medicinal and nutritional value.
“We have made arrangements with big hotels across the country
guaranteeing farmers a direct market for the produce,” he said.
The universities undertaking the project, he said would engage
students in research on the seven crops to come up with technology for
effective propagation of the crops.
Prof. Florence Olubango of University of Nairobi College of
agriculture, plant science and veterinary services said the project
which runs for three years would enhance sharing of information
between the institutions of higher learning and farmers to boost
production.