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Showing posts from August, 2020

Challenges of telephone farming - Farming in absentia

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Getting a dedicated farm manager is the biggest dilemma of telephone farming.    Telephone farming is a term used to refer to business people who work and live in town, but they run and manage small or medium-sized investments in the rural areas on a part-time basis mostly in the agriculture sector. Nowadays, the desire to have more than one line of income has put many employees under pressure to invest in small businesses in order to get an extra coin away from the salary. Like I mentioned in an earlier article , I have come across people who have accumulated a substantial amount of money in savings and they are ready to put that amount into a viable investment, preferably in agribusiness. Most of them are still employed and are faced with the dilemma of whether to resign and commit to full-time management of their start-ups, or remain in employment and delegate the start-up to a farm manager. It is at this point most agribusiness start-ups are made or broken. Why?   If you ha

2020 is a good agricultural year for Kenya despite the COVID-19 crisis

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2020 is a good agricultural year for Kenya despite COVID-19.    When COVID 19 was reported in Kenya on the 13 th of March, the whole country was set into a mode of fear – the fear of ultimately losing life to the virus. For the remaining part of  the month of March, after the first corona case was announced, there was a shortage of almost everything in the supermarkets as people went into panic shopping. I felt really scared when I went to a nearby supermarket and I was told that it was impossible for me to buy more than three pieces of the same item. I had never seen that before. I have always thought that I could buy as much as I can afford. As days went by, lock-downs started. Most people stayed at home, including farmers, and everyone was worried that now the health crisis was going to transform itself into a food crisis. But God, through his own unique ways has shielded his people from acute hunger during this pandemic. However, the battle is not yet won, we must plan for our f

Youth: How to sustain your farm after you get a full-time job

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Can you manage a farm while working on a full-time employment? Youth unemployment is incredibly high in Africa. In Kenya for example, more than a third of youth eligible for work have no jobs (according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Census 2020). Although Kenya’s many years of strong economic growth have created jobs, they are coming at a rate that is too low to absorb the rapidly growing population. But this does not mean that youth are doomed. No. Youth must keep moving as they wait for jobs to come. Upon graduation from university, college, or high school, some youth look for occasional jobs to do as they wait for their next move, while many others chose to do nothing. Some do internships, others do teaching, others do small businesses like hawking, others get into farming … etc as they wait. For myself back then, I got a teaching job in a primary school which I did for several months until I got a scholarship to study abroad. The period that youth wait before de

Next generation of farmers in Kenya will be the town-dwellers

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The next generation of farmers in Kenya will be those born in towns.   It is well known by everyone that most farmers in Kenya are subsistence small scale farmers who do not practice farming as a business. Therefore, it would be incorrect for me to discuss here the succession of small-scale farming businesses in Kenya because, in reality, the “business” does not exist. Unlike in countries with developed agriculture where several family generations work on the same farm, the situation in Kenya’s farming families is completely different. I can say without fear of contradiction that most youth who live in rural areas today do so due to the lack of a better alternative. And the dream of any young man born in the village is to leave his birthplace and successfully live in another place far from home, preferably in town centers. It is very common to hear people asking questions such as: “You mean so and so is still living in the same village ever since?”.  Farmer by choice or by constraint

Farming is hard work: Eat. Farm. Sleep. Repeat 🔁

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F arming is hard work, and it is difficult to do it right.  I am doing this article to help aspiring farmers understand that agriculture is not for the interested, but for the passionately committed individuals. Farming is not easy; it is hard work, and it is not a business that can get you rich quickly. There is is a group of people online who are over-romanticizing farming, making it look too sexy, which is a good impression but it would be more prudent to tell the whole story. I grew up on the farm and I learned at a young age that working from the sunrise until sunset and beyond is the normal lifestyle of farmers. I salute farmers for the hard work they do. READ >>  Son of a smallholder farmer in Kenya: Story of my life  Whether your farm is mechanized or not, there are days when your body will be physically exhausted, but you will have to ignore it because there are animals to feed on the farm, crops to harvest, fences to repair, milk to deliver ect. There are times when

Starting a new dairy herd using embryo transfer technology, young heifers or purchase of in-calf heifers.

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How to start a dairy herd using modern technologies Throwback edition: This article is an exam that I wrote at Strathmore Business School during my post-graduate in the  AGCO Agribusiness Qualification Program .  Course : Agricultural Science. I am always grateful to our lecturers who taught us things that are very relevant to my daily work! The establishment of a new dairy herd farmers can opt for many strategies to acquire quality animals. These include use of Embryo transfer technology, purchase of young heifers, and purchase of in-calf heifers. Question 1: As an adviser to a new farmer wanting to set up a new herd can you explain the arguments for and against each of the strategies being proposed? The above proposed strategies are common practices in animal breeding. They address the evaluation of genetic value of livestock animals with superior characteristics for example high growth rate, milk quality and quantity..Etc. In order to come up with a herd with desired characteris

Assessment of pesticides and fertilizer regulations in Kenya to ensure operator, consumer, wildlife and environmental safety

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Use of pesticides in Kenya Pesticides and fertilizer regulations in Kenya Throwback edition: This article is an exam that I wrote at Strathmore Business School during my post-graduate in the  AGCO Agribusiness Qualification Program .  Course : Crop Nutrition. I am always grateful to our lecturers for teaching us things that are very useful in my daily work! Question :   Appraise the current pesticide and fertilizer legislation and its role in reducing the impacts of agro-chemicals on operator safety, consumer safety and on wildlife and the environment (20 mks ) Response: Introduction The Pest Control Products Board regulates importation and exportation, manufacture, registration and use of pest control products in Kenya, while registration of fertilizer importation is controlled by the Kenya National Bureau of Standard. These two bodies are independent but are expected to work in close collaboration. 1 .       Control of pesticide products by Kenya  Pest Control Products Board-  PCBP P

Mentoring youth to embrace agribusiness in Kenya – How to start farming

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Mentoring youth to embrace agribusiness in Kenya – How to start farming.   August started on a very special note. Last Saturday, the 1st of August, I was invited by a friend who runs an organization that offers career guidance and mentorship to young people who are seeking wider paths to grow professionally. I met Kathleen Lihanda, the founder of My Career Identit y in 2016, but since then, we have not met physically again. What inspired me most is that through social media, she has tracked my growth and my activities in agriculture, and that’s how she decided to invite me to mentor a group of enthusiastic youth who want to get into agribusiness. This made me realize that, with or without knowing, we inspire many people, even those that I do not see. This is a reminder to always put my best foot forward in doing whatever I do.  I enjoyed sharing not because I had a lot to offer but because it was a unique opportunity for me to learn as well especially the public speaking experience