Featured Articles March - April 2023

This year’s National Farmers’ Awards gala dinner was held in Nairobi. The event, formerly known as Presidential Farmers competition Scheme, was first launched in 2013 as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the Ministry of Agriculture and Elgon Kenya Limited. It was presided over by the Principal Secretary, State Department of Crop Development, Phillip Kello Harsama, on behalf of the Chief Guest, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi. Mr. Harsama was assisted by his colleague in the state department of Livestock PS Harry Kimtai and Elgon’s Managing Director Dr. Bimal Kantaria. Individual farmers as well as companies were among the awardees of the day.

The global economy is increasingly at a risk of sliding into recession according to recent surveys. Consumers are faced with generation-high inflation rein in spending while central banks are tightening policy aggressively. Spiralling costs of farm inputs like fertiliser in the back drop of global disruptions have also seen flower exporters grapple with higher input costs.

This year’s Valentine’s Day, florists and retailers were in the middle of a rush, but all over the world, the holiday was different compared to last year, which was filled with optimism. This year, the weather seemed to have been a major challenge in Latin America and Africa, delaying production. Pre-books seemed to be in later than usual, and for some, they were even lower. Prices at the Dutch auction were lower than expected. Production and transportation costs were high and the florist and, eventually, the end consumer felt it.

By Daisy Ng’eno

Rust diseases are common fungal infections that affect a wide range of floricultural crops, including Carnation, Roses, Chrysanthemums, Hypericums, Fuchsia, Geraniums, Gladiolus, Lilium, Marigold, Poinsettia, Snapdragons, Statice and Viola (including pansy). Rusts have the potential to negatively impact floriculture production. Rust fungi are obligate parasites, dependent upon a live host for growth and development, and seldom kill plants. However, rust infection reduces plant health and vigor, flower production, and aesthetic value.

Each type of Rust has its own distinctive symptoms and its own specific plant hosts. The disease often first appears as chlorosis on the upper surfaces of leaves. All rust fungi produce powdery masses of spores in pustules, typically on leaf undersides that are yellow, orange, purple, black or brown. Some Rust fungi produce pustules on upper leaf surfaces as well. Spores are easily spread on air or with splashing water. Lesions may coalesce resulting in large areas of necrosis; leaf distortion and defoliation often follow.

Different issues need to be implemented and calculated. Subsequently the fertilizer tanks are calculated

Crop analyses
Analyses of the crop gives information about the nutrients needed for growth. Analyses can be made by drying the complete plant. When all the water is out of the plant, the nutrients in the plant can be checked. Every crop has its own balance of nutrients. Plant analyses per crop are executed by the research station.

Root environment
To find out how to get the nutrients in the right composition into the plant, you need to know what to offer the plant direct in the root environment. This is determined by the characteristics of the roots absorbing nutrients. Since all crops have their own root system, the characteristics per crop are different. The research station has selected the right nutrient composition in the root environment for the different crops.

The characteristics of the substrates determines how near and in what concentrations the nutrients are to the roots. Rockwool and peat have different qualities. The standard nutrient solution for tomatoes grown on rockwool differs from tomatoes grown on peat although the same nutrients in the same composition needed in the tomato.

Daren Tang, Director General of the
World Intellectual Propert Organization

Human genius is the source of all works of art and invention. These works are the guarantee of a life worthy of men. It is the duty of the state to ensure with diligence the protection of the arts and inventions.’

These words are inscribed in the entrance hall of the headquarters of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Geneva, Switzerland.

Despite this impressive statement, the world’s breeders of ornamental plant and fruit tree varieties face the frequent infringement of their rights. These breeders are not enjoying sufficient protection of their “inventions,” as the state is not fulfilling its duty to prevent the violation of plant breeders’ rights.

Why should breeders invest this kind of money for the protection of their varieties?
Simply put, breeders need this protection to receive a return on their investment. But this is only possible if breeders have a real and effective protection of their varieties-not only protection on paper.