Farming News – Farmers#Trend https://farmerstrend.co.ke New generation culture in agriculture Fri, 25 Oct 2019 12:25:40 +0300 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3 107354252 Kenya to start commercial growing of BT cotton or GM cotton https://farmerstrend.co.ke/kenya-to-start-commercial-growing-of-bt-cotton-gm-cotton/ https://farmerstrend.co.ke/kenya-to-start-commercial-growing-of-bt-cotton-gm-cotton/#respond Fri, 25 Oct 2019 11:04:59 +0000 https://farmerstrend.co.ke/?p=6108   The government is expected to release the Bt cotton seeds to 1,000 demonstration sites in all parts of cotton-growing areas by November. According to Charles Waturu, Principal Investigator of GM cotton project, after the […]

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Kenya’s Vision 2030 has identified cotton as a key sub-sector with the potential to benefit eight million people in the drier areas of the country.

The government is expected to release the Bt cotton seeds to 1,000 demonstration sites in all parts of cotton-growing areas by November.

According to Charles Waturu, Principal Investigator of GM cotton project, after the final report on the second National Performance Trials that have been going on in the country was submitted to National Performance Trials Committee by September the process now awaits the approval by National Biosafety Authority (NBA) for environmental release and placement on the market.

The Principal Investigator of GM cotton project was addressing cotton stakeholders in Nairobi where he revealed that the hybrid variety will then be registered by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS).

Kenya’s Vision 2030 has identified cotton as a key sub-sector with the p

otential to benefit eight million people in the drier areas of the country. The country has the potential to produce 260,000 bales of cotton if the area under cultivation was increased.

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Government’s new pesticide legislation receive support from Agricultural industry alliance https://farmerstrend.co.ke/governments-new-pesticide-legislation-receive-support-from-agricultural-industry-alliance/ https://farmerstrend.co.ke/governments-new-pesticide-legislation-receive-support-from-agricultural-industry-alliance/#respond Thu, 24 Oct 2019 10:02:23 +0000 https://farmerstrend.co.ke/?p=6105   The agricultural industry alliance is supporting government’s new pesticide legislation Speaking on the occasion of its support alongside growers’ organisations of the government’s updating of the Kenyan pest control products (PCP) legislation, 23rd October […]

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Robert Ngugi prepares fertiliser from tithonia leaves in his farm in Wendani, Nairobi. The plant is also used to control pests.

The agricultural industry alliance is supporting government’s new pesticide legislation

Speaking on the occasion of its support alongside growers’ organisations of the government’s updating of the Kenyan pest control products (PCP) legislation, 23rd October 2019, Eric Kimunguyi, CEO of the Agrochemical Association of Kenya (AAK) recognized that Kenya is not a heavy user of pesticidesays

“As it is, Kenya is not a heavy user of pesticides. According to world rankings calculated by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, the FAO, Kenya comes in as the 75th most intense user of pesticides out of 162 countries, and this is despite being Africa’s leading horticultural exporter,” he says.

He says the Country only uses an average of a quarter of a kilo of pesticides per hectare of agricultural land, compared with nearly 10kg per hectare in Mauritius, and more than 2kg per hectare in Egypt and South Africa. Yet the usage has grown sharply in the last two years even to get to this quarter of a kilo per hectare.

The arrival of compulsory education has left many farmers short of workers for hand weeding, which has driven an increase in the use of herbicides, which the CEO attributes to the invasion by the Fall Army Worm since 2017, which in its first year in Kenya, without any pesticide regime to curb it, ate and destroyed 70 per cent of our staple food crop, maize.

“A nation cannot lose 70 per cent of its staple food crop and not face food security challenges.  But our agriculture is about more than our food security. It also provides our livelihoods – 70 per cent of Kenyans are employed, supported or earn their living from agriculture. It provides most of our jobs and much of our GDP,” says the CEO.

He says the devastating Fall Army Worm ate away maize in 2017  worth Sh2bn of revenue. lost to millions of farmers, as well as our staple food supply.

In fact, scientists have looked globally at the difference pesticides make to agricultural production, including to animal health – for as the vets join us here today, it isn’t only crops that depend on pesticides to thrive, so too do animals, as do we, ourselves, as well, in controlling mosquitos and domestic pests like cockroaches. We cannot keep our cattle free of Tsetse fly by wishing it: we dip them or spray them.

Overall, the scientists at the FAO calculate that pesticides make a 40 per cent difference to agricultural production. Now, 40 per cent is a number and once that is often used as well. But if tomorrow we saw 40 per cent of our cattle, our goats, our pigs all die it would be a catastrophe.

That 40 per cent is not easily replaced, which gives us a lot to thank pesticides for, including for our somewhat improved maize production this year and last year
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But pesticide use carries risks and therefore their usage needs to be responsible, which is what we are here today to talk about, because as my colleague from the Fresh Produce Consortium has pointed out, we also need to ensure the integrity of our nation’s health and environment.

Kenya has one of the most robust pest control frameworks in Africa. Our law is based on the Code of Conduct for Pesticide Management developed by the FAO, and the World Health Organisation, the WHO.

That law has been in place since it was drafted in 1982, alongside a set of pesticide regulations, and is built on four pillars. The first pillar is the health and environmental protection derived from the best pesticide control systems in the world.

Thus, no producer can first register any agrochemical product in Kenya. It must have been approved for use by one of the world’s leading pesticide regimes, such as the US through its Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, or the EU, or Australia.

These regimes require extensive health and environmental testing to approve a pesticide, so setting up a requirement that a pesticide has to have been approved in the US or similar puts in a first level of defence for Kenya and Kenyans: our protection becomes as good as the best available in the world.

CEO,” Our second pillar in protecting health and the environment is then local testing for pesticide residues. Food safety is vital and this is guaranteed through a requirement to submit residue studies on edible crops. The residue studies indicate the maximum levels acceptable in food and feed as set by the WHO, Cordex, or the EU, and are continuously monitored.

In fact, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate, KePHIS, tests crops, soil, water and animal produce constantly for signs of pesticide residues.

We then offer a third pillar of protection through reviews when new scientific evidence emerges, so if new research suggests a problem with a pesticide, or a country somewhere bans it, such as the UK, or Europe, that decision triggers a regulatory review in Kenya of the concerned pesticide, as long as the new finding is scientific. In this, it is important to note that regulatory decisions need to be predictable and scientific and follow universal principles. These decisions are not political.

Moreover, science is not always as clear cut as you might think. Sometimes it can suggest a possible problem, and approaches to that risk can vary, so, for instance, we currently have some pesticides in the review process in Kenya because they have been recently banned in Europe – for instance there is one that has been banned from 28th November, next month – but the EPA in the US has continued its approval of the same pesticide classing it as safe to both the health and the environment, even in full consideration of the latest research.

In such cases, our scientific experts look at every aspect of the new data and still require approval elsewhere for the reregistration. Those experts are not politicians. They are not farmers, or chemical producers, or NGOs, or organic farming activists. They are qualified scientists who consider the evidence, and we have good reason to trust our scientists and regulatory decisions made by the competent institutions.

But we also have a fourth pillar of protection in the form of four international conventions of which Kenya is a signatory: the Stockholm, Rotterdam, Montreal and Basel conventions. These span control of the world’s most hazardous chemicals, and any pesticide banned under any of these conventions is automatically banned in Kenya and subjected to a phase out plan immediately on that suspension.

So that is our protection, based on the best risk assessments the world has to offer, just to set the record straight there.
However, the new constitution changed our agricultural extension structure, devolving the training of farmers to counties, and triggering the review of whole swathes of our legislation. In this vein, the government now also reviewed our pest control products legislation, with a new Bill and seven new regulations now finalising their impact assessment and coming up for public participation.

As well as the new recognition of county functions in training farmers to apply pesticides safely, the new legislative set has upgraded whole sets of rules, moving Kenya to the global system of hazard warnings, which is the same set of symbols and classifications shown on labels and used all over the world.

The law proposes to increase the qualifications necessary to run a pesticides business or premises, to ensure scientists are present with science degrees. The proposed new law will also create an independent Pest Control Products Authority, giving the new authority the status necessary to implementing the international conventions and laws that we have laid out above.

We are here today to inform you all about these new laws, from the clear starting point of excellent legislative protection from any risks associated with pesticides.

We are happy to field all of your questions about pesticides and the legislation, and provide any information at all that will be helpful to you in understanding the current regime and the changes now proposed.

But first of all, please allow me to invite Ojepat Okisegere, CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium, to also share a few words with you on the subject of the new laws from the perspective of growers.
Thankyou Ojepat.

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Tarakwo Dairies Partners With Dutch Semen Importer Firm To Boost AI Services https://farmerstrend.co.ke/tarakwo-dairies-partners-with-dutch-semen-importer-firm-to-boost-ai-services/ https://farmerstrend.co.ke/tarakwo-dairies-partners-with-dutch-semen-importer-firm-to-boost-ai-services/#comments Thu, 10 Oct 2019 10:14:36 +0000 https://farmerstrend.co.ke/?p=6072 A dairy cooperative has partnered with a Dutch semen importer, Bles Dairies East Africa Ltd, to directly access the product for high milk production. Mr Timothy Businei, the executive director of Tarakwo Dairies, said the […]

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A dairy cooperative has partnered with a Dutch semen importer, Bles Dairies East Africa Ltd, to directly access the product for high milk production.

Mr Timothy Businei, the executive director of Tarakwo Dairies, said the cooperative decided to partner with the semen importer to eliminate brokers.

Businei noted that there is need for laws to protect farmers from exploitation by the service providers.

“We don’t know whether the artificial insemination (AI) kits sold in the market are in good condition or damaged. In some cases, when you buy the AI straws from the agrovets or local inseminators, they don’t work and no one is compensated despite the huge losses,” said Mr Buisenei.

He observed that their members will access the sexed-semen at a discounted price of Sh4,500 while conventional ones will go for between Sh1,500 and Sh1,800.

Bles Dairies East Africa Limited MD Dirk Harting noted the partnership was a first as it entails ‘track and trace’ to ensure farmers attain productivity.

“We realised that the problem in terms of quality, happens along the distribution of the AI semen. We decided to start this programme to support farmers through training and identify AI technician to ensure best breeding practices,” he said.

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County offers tea seedlings to farmers https://farmerstrend.co.ke/county-offers-tea-seedlings-to-farmers/ https://farmerstrend.co.ke/county-offers-tea-seedlings-to-farmers/#respond Mon, 23 Sep 2019 07:20:18 +0000 https://farmerstrend.co.ke/?p=6038   Tea farmers in Nyeri County are set to benefit from Sh1m seedlings project by the county government targeting more than 35,000 small scale tea farmers, meant to spur tea production. Already the County Governor […]

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Tea farmers in Nyeri County are set to benefit from Sh1m seedlings project by the county government targeting more than 35,000 small scale tea farmers, meant to spur tea production.

Already the County Governor Mutahi Kahiga launched the distribution of 50,000 tea clones to be given to farmers in all the five factories affiliated to the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) where each factory is expected to receive 10,000 seedlings.

Governor Kahiga says, “The seedling we are distributing now will ensure farmers have increased their production by at least one kilo which is above the old clone from which they could not get a kilo-and-a-half from a bush.”

The clone, TRFK 300, sourced from Kuresoi, is said to be tolerant to drought and pests and has higher yields compared to the conventional clones that farmers are currently relying on.

 

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Kenyan farmers benefit from innovative climate risk financing scheme https://farmerstrend.co.ke/kenyan-farmers-benefit-from-innovative-climate-risk-financing-scheme/ https://farmerstrend.co.ke/kenyan-farmers-benefit-from-innovative-climate-risk-financing-scheme/#comments Wed, 04 Sep 2019 07:41:49 +0000 https://farmerstrend.co.ke/?p=6009 Machakos County in eastern Kenya is generally sunny with dry weather conditions and often gets below normal rainfall. Despite this condition, the weather trend has not deterred communities living in the region from farming activities. […]

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Machakos County in eastern Kenya is generally sunny with dry weather conditions and often gets below normal rainfall.

Despite this condition, the weather trend has not deterred communities living in the region from farming activities.

“We have religiously prepared our farms year in and year out growing maize, beans, cow pea and mangoes even in difficult circumstances,” said Beatrice Ndavi, a farmer.
Ndavi said that 2018 has gone in history as one of the worst years as they failed to make crop harvest due to drought and bad weather but instead harvested mangoes, oranges and other fruits.
With no insurance and loans, Ndavi revealed that most families resorted to selling their livestock to pay school fees and meet other domestic needs.
Soon after realizing this massive crop failure, an innovative, market-based Risk-Contingent Credit (RCC) scheme has been introduced to farmers in the region with the aim of offering a solution to farmers in the region.
In this program, participating farmers receive vouchers for high-quality inputs (seeds, fertilizers and pesticides) as well as agronomic training.
“Unlike first generation index insurance schemes, this project uses new modeling techniques to trigger payments if average rainfall is too low in any 21-day period throughout the growing season instead of using cumulative rainfall statistics from across the season as a whole,” Liangzhi You, senior research fellow, environment and production technology division at International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said.
You said that the project that is spearheaded by IFPRI and the University of Greenwich’s Natural Resource Institute (NRI) has incorporated an insurance firm and a banking institution to help farmers gain benefit from their farming activity.
He said that even though majority of banking institutions are willing to insure crops, climate change effects scare them as farmers in the region suffer perennial losses.
Apurba Shee, business development economist at University of Greenwich, and lead project officer, said that the project is a market-based solution to minimize agricultural risks by unlocking access to credit for farmers.
Shee said that the project that works with 1,150 households has seen positive results as uptake has reached 35 percent while majority of farmers got bank account for the first time, used certified farm seeds for the first time and majority to used fertilizer for the first time.
He said that under the project, farmers are advanced a loan of $100 to purchase certified seeds and fertilizer.
Ndavi said that the project has given households a new lease of life as they are capable of securing loans, fertilizer and certified seeds that before was unthinkable.
“I used to harvest less than 10 bags of maize but since joining this project, I harvested 25 bags for the first time in my five hectare farm, “said the 58-year-old farmer.
Moses Kyalo, a small-scale farmer said that this locality has suffered because farmers do not have access to finance even when drought becomes so severe.
“This is a welcome move because it is introducing certified seeds where people were used to recycling traditional seeds,” said Kyalo. She said that the introduction of fertilizer in the region has equally helped revolutionized farming in the area.
According to You the project, which is collateral free, is expected to be upscale up in most regions of Kenya and other developing countries.
The implementers of this project are among 10 finalists selected as part of the Global Resilience Challenge, initially launched by the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP) in late 2016.
XINHUA

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Farmers in Kirinyaga Count Losses as Whiteflies Invade Farms https://farmerstrend.co.ke/farmers-in-kirinyaga-count-losses-as-whiteflies-invade-farms/ https://farmerstrend.co.ke/farmers-in-kirinyaga-count-losses-as-whiteflies-invade-farms/#respond Sat, 31 Aug 2019 08:04:18 +0000 https://farmerstrend.co.ke/?p=6006 Farmers in Kirinyaga County are counting losses as whiteflies destroy their crops. “The flies congregate on the underside of leaves, lay eggs and suck out the plants’ fluids while injecting toxic saliva,” Jackson Karani, a […]

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Farmers in Kirinyaga County are counting losses as whiteflies destroy their crops.

“The flies congregate on the underside of leaves, lay eggs and suck out the plants’ fluids while injecting toxic saliva,” Jackson Karani, a French beans farmer in Kiumbu village, said.

The insects have invaded his seven-acre farm, destroying the crops’ leaves. Most of them have now turned yellow and fallen off.

The tiny whitish flies are attracted to young leaves and in their feeding, they not only transmit diseases, but they also secret honeydew that develops a dark mould that disrupts photosynthesis

Farmers are supposed to spray against the pest every fortnight, but due to the outbreak, they are being forced to spray every week raising their cost of production.

The county government has promised to assist the farmers manage the pest.

-Caroline Wambui

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Free market far more advantageous for the sugar sector than the current heavily regulated regime https://farmerstrend.co.ke/free-market-far-more-advantageous-for-the-sugar-sector-than-the-current-heavily-regulated-regime/ https://farmerstrend.co.ke/free-market-far-more-advantageous-for-the-sugar-sector-than-the-current-heavily-regulated-regime/#respond Tue, 27 Aug 2019 11:15:11 +0000 https://farmerstrend.co.ke/?p=6003 The sugar sector employs over 250,000 Kenyans and supports six million livelihoods. Yet it has become one of the country’s loss-making ventures. Not because the industry is not viable and that farmers don’t have the […]

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The sugar sector employs over 250,000 Kenyans and supports six million livelihoods. Yet it has become one of the country’s loss-making ventures. Not because the industry is not viable and that farmers don’t have the experience and skills to farm the crop, but because government policies are overriding a free and fair market system, breaching the Competition Act, 2010.

Michael Arum, SUCAM coordinator

The Act advocates market forces, promoting effective competition and preventing unfair and misleading market conduct, and specifically prohibiting dominant undertakings and restrictive trade.

While the government is supposed to develop laws as tools to implement these policies, the proposed Crops (Sugar) Regulations, 2019, have no element that upholds these requirements, instead creating a buyers’ market – known as a monopsony – that will lead to the final death of Kenya’s sugar sector.

At the heart of this ‘fix’ of the sugar industry is zoning, renamed cane catchment areas during the national sugar taskforce draft report validation forum. This force sugar farmers to register and then be assigned one mill they are allowed to sell to. The results are set to be irreparably damaging to Kenya and to western Kenya.

By giving all the sugarcane buying power in a region to a single miller, the government is indirectly granting them absolute control over prices and farmers’ income too. Indeed, millers can treat their supplying farmers however they like, pay slowly, pay late, shift prices, demand off-sets, they can do anything, because there will be nowhere else any farmer can go that won’t be illegal. All competition has been ended.

It’s a policy-based redistribution of power that raises questions about why the Kenyan government passed the Competition Act in the first place. If the ideal way to rescue an ailing and high cost, uncompetitive industry, such as sugar, was to override all market forces, why was a policy commitment to competition ever put onto the nation’s statute?

Yet, the anti-competitive combination of power being relocated to buyers and intense and highly-staffed government control mirrors many similar approaches by the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, of late, in policies that seem to be employing large numbers of staff to proscribe the minutiae of agro-industry mechanics.

In the current climate of avowed determination to end corruption, its new regulations, furthermore, appear filled with opportunities for rent seeking, across requirements for letters of comfort as confirmation of commitment by investors to install a factory, special approvals, permission-based registrations, and extra licenses. All of these are put in without reason or justification, but all of them grant government employees power over industry players – which is an unusual way to stop requests for ‘appreciation’ payments.

Numerous extra barriers to market entry have been added too. No farmer or Kenyan can produce sugar seeds, grown sugar, process sugar, transport it, distribute or wholesale it with any normal business license, but must now go through complex bureaucratic registration processes that include exorbitant licensing fees in a now fully controlled market and industry.

In the end, for sugarcane farmers and their dependents, the sum is set to be grave for it will be very expensive or near impossible to transition into alternative crop. This will open up a bigger trade deficit as Kenya imports even more sugar.

Additionally, centralising and allocating sugar processing operations and all distribution trade to millers will lead to further operational inefficiencies by millers; arbitrary deductions during ploughing and in provision of seed cane, delayed services such as provision of seed cane to farmers, harvesting and cane transportation as well as defective weighbridges.

If the country were to allow the forces of demand and supply to prevail – as the Competition Act does specify – with everyone free to participate with minimal government control, we would achieve far better results.

Sugarcane farmers would be at liberty to sell their cane to mills of their choice, which would drive millers to set their buying prices at the right market value or jeopardise their raw material supplies.

Competition would force all of the industry’s participants to strive for greater efficiency or risk going out of business; seed producers would ensure they sell the highest quality of seeds to farmers to avoid losing market share to competitors, farmers would strive for higher sugar content, and everyone would earn more.

As a result, the existing cane factories and infrastructure would be utilised at a far higher rate than the current 58 per cent.

Ultimately, if we were able to achieve 90 per cent utilisation of the existing capacity, the country would end up saving Sh16.6bn a year in import costs, significantly reducing our trade deficit. Over time, the volumes of sugar produced would not only be sufficient to meet consumer demand, but also to provide a sustained surplus for exports, thus improving the country’s balance of payments. In 10 years, the net revenues would amount to Sh172bn based on industry spending of Sh20bn.

But instead, we are stuck with spending at least Sh23.8bn a year on sugar imports to supplement the mounting production deficit, and a huge civil service bill to override the market and devise ‘letters of comfort’.

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Kenya, Uganda conduct joint mass vaccination of livestock along the border https://farmerstrend.co.ke/300000-livestock-vaccinated-along-kenya-uganda-border/ https://farmerstrend.co.ke/300000-livestock-vaccinated-along-kenya-uganda-border/#respond Thu, 22 Aug 2019 08:24:01 +0000 https://farmerstrend.co.ke/?p=5991   The exercise which started last week in Kacheliba Pokot North Sub County has seen 300,000 cows vaccinated in a free joint mass vaccination of livestock against the Contagious Bovine Pleura Pneumonia (CBPP), Lumpy Skin […]

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The exercise which started last week in Kacheliba Pokot North Sub County has seen 300,000 cows vaccinated in a free joint mass vaccination of livestock against the Contagious Bovine Pleura Pneumonia (CBPP), Lumpy Skin and foot and Mouth diseases which are rampant in the region.The came after the diseases broke out in the neighboring Uganda and targets animals along the border of the two countries. So far the exercise has been done at a cost of Kshs. 1.2 million, and is a is a follow up of another one conducted last year.

The Governor of West Pokot Prof. John Lonyangapuo led the Kenyan delegation in Uganda to vaccinate the animals in Natekol, Abong’oi, Asiokanion, Karita, Lokales, Ng’rina, Kiriki, Chepkusinya among other areas along the border.

According to Governor Lonyangapuo, the two Countries will ensure the region is a disease free zone to help improve immunity of livestock and improve productivity.
He was accompanied by Kacheliba Member of Parliament Mark Lomunokol who said the animals have been grazing together which helps promote peace and security  in the region.

The are MP added that the process will ensure that in the near future Kenya especially West Pokot will be in a position to export meat.

He also urged the Government to support livestock farmers saying it will help pastoralist communities in the Country.

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A billion programme by World Bank to benefit Farmers in Bungoma https://farmerstrend.co.ke/a-billion-programme-by-world-bank-to-benefit-farmers-in-bungoma/ https://farmerstrend.co.ke/a-billion-programme-by-world-bank-to-benefit-farmers-in-bungoma/#respond Wed, 31 Jul 2019 07:55:46 +0000 https://farmerstrend.co.ke/?p=5946 Over twenty thousand farmers in Bungoma County are set to benefit from a one billion shillings National Agriculture and Rural Inclusive Growth Program funded by the World Bank. According to Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, the […]

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The World bank programme to benefit over 20,000 farmers in Bungoma County

Over twenty thousand farmers in Bungoma County are set to benefit from a one billion shillings National Agriculture and Rural Inclusive Growth Program funded by the World Bank.

According to Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, the programme will offer training in best practice including pest control as well as book keeping and consequently boost productivity.

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Inadequacies in technical skills and best practice have for eons undermined productivity of small scale farmers across the country.

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In an effort to alleviate this, the World Bank has rolled the National Agriculture and Rural Inclusive Growth Programme targeting small scale farmers.

The programme aims at scaling up the capacity of farmers engaged in maize, poultry and dairy farming, as well as coffee farming.

Also Read  CBK attributes export earnings to increased acreage under cultivation

The programme has been welcomed by those in the agricultural value chain in the region.

 

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Kenya Dairy Board to revise the proposed milk regulations https://farmerstrend.co.ke/kenya-dairy-board-to-revise-the-proposed-milk-regulations/ https://farmerstrend.co.ke/kenya-dairy-board-to-revise-the-proposed-milk-regulations/#respond Mon, 22 Jul 2019 08:39:58 +0000 https://farmerstrend.co.ke/?p=5927 Milk producers will not be barred from selling to neighbours as long as it is within the radius of two kilometres, according to revised proposed regulations by Kenya Dairy Board. The regulator has also reviewed […]

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Milk producers will not be barred from selling to neighbours as long as it is within the radius of two kilometres, according to revised proposed regulations by Kenya Dairy Board.

The regulator has also reviewed penalties and fines for various offences up to a maximum of Sh10,000. Previously, it had stated in the withdrawn draft that any farmer found flouting rules would be liable to a fine of Sh500,000.

In March, the board bowed to public backlash and withdrew its controversial draft regulations.

The board’s managing director Margaret Kibogy has been holding a sensitisation campaign for farmers countrywide on the regulations as it seeks to make locally produced milk safe and the prices competitive in the region.

She said both farmers and consumers stood to benefit from the regulations.

“The discussions with dairy farmers are ongoing. Some of the areas we are looking at are farmers registration, milk handling, how to transport and store milk, the type of equipment used to transport milk as well as movement of milk from one point to another,” said the MD during a dairy farmers’ stakeholder meeting in Soy, Uasin Gishu County.

Ms Kibogy went on: “One area that has been discussed is the sale of raw milk. I have explained to farmers that it is not that we have stopped them from selling to their neighbours, but it is a proposal meant to protect the consumers from taking milk that is not safe.

It is just that we have a schedule and standards of milk handling and we will continue to engage dairy farmers.”

She added that the regulations will enable the country to export its milk produced locally since the dairy product will have met the set standards.

“The proposed regulations will safeguard quality of milk for the public. For instance, raw milk should be delivered to a processing plant of choice within two hours to avoid deterioration in quality,” said Mr Evanson Mwangi, the principal compliance officer at the board.

He said the draft regulations will require the vendor to make hygiene declarations any time he/she is selling milk to the public, so that the buyer can take necessary precautions when consuming it.

“With these regulations, emphasis will be placed on traceability for quality and management of farms to address the concerns affecting the quality of milk and its products. These regulations are expected to be presented by the end of August,” added Mr Mwangi.

The rules, Mr Mwangi said, supported the registration of farmers so that their information can improve service delivery by the national government and counties.

In March, the controversial regulations sparked a public outcry and were withdrawn before they could be presented to the National Assembly for approval, in line with the Statutory Instruments Act of 2013, which states that all subsidiary laws generated by government agencies must be adopted by MPs.

The proposed regulations had prohibited farmers from selling milk even to their neighbours before they pasteurise it. According to the regulations, milk would only be sold based on quality and a farmer would sell it to one processor who he had a contract with.

Some practices stipulated in the latest regulations include cooling of milk within the shortest time possible to prevent unwanted bacteria multiplication as well as handling of milk using appropriate equipment, record keeping for purposes of follow up in case of a problem, health for handlers of milk and milk products and prevention from contamination.

By STANLEY KIMUGE
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