Featured Past Articles
Amiran Kenya: Agriculture Is Not Just Our Business, It’s Our Passion.

Aviv Levi is the Managing Director, Amiran Kenya Ltd, the leading agricultural solution provider in Kenya that has played a role in positioning its clients as major suppliers of floriculture and horticultural produce in the local market, Europe and the rest of the world. The company has done this by ensuring that farmers in Kenya have access to world class innovations ranging from chemicals, fertilizers, seeds, modern irrigation systems, high quality greenhouse models, plastics and covers in addition to services such as training and agro-support.

Since his arrival to Amiran, Aviv and his team have worked tirelessly to better position the company as the market leader in almost all agricultural crop sectors , as well as leading in the introduction of new innovations and services all geared towards uplifting its clientele.

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Small-Scale Flower Farming Thriving In Kenya

Small-scale flower farming in the country was not given much emphasis in the past but this is changing gradually as farmers from various parts of the country continue to embrace this practice supported by players in the industry. A recent visit to Kinangop area of Nyandarua County revealed that small-scale farmers have embraced flower farming and are reaping cash out of the venture.

Farmers who in the past preferred to grow traditional food crops are now moving towards summer flower production which they say is far much better in terms of income. The farmers have come together to form groups and through the help of agents they have been able to sell their flowers through the auction in the European market.

One such group, Multigrow Investments, with a total of 86 members drawn from Nyandarua, Nakuru, Kiambu, Nyeri and Murang’a counties has been cashing in from small-scale flower farming. According to Multigrow chairman Mr. Peter Murimi, the farmers sought the assistance of agents who are well versed with the market to help in marketing their products.

“We have engaged the services of agents who assist us in marketing our products through the auction in Europe. The proceeds from the sales are them divided among the farmers as per the number of the flower stems,” says Murimi.

They grow varieties such as eryngium, mobidique, allium, claspedia, mollucella, scabiosa, agapanthus, ornis, lilies among other summer flowers mostly used as fillers. Mr. Murimi said that the Blue Agapanthus has been doing exceptionally well due to its high demand on the European market.

The farmers are trained on how to take care of the plants, harvest and package them.

Mr. Murimi says that another successful variety, Claspedia, gets high demand during Mother’s Day celebrations and also to make winter bouquets. The small headed yellow flower also has a shelf life of one month and fetches an average of 0.7 Euro cents which translates to about Kshs.7 per stem. For Claspedia, a farmer harvests a 100 stems per square metre per year.

The flower which takes about 5 months from the time of planting to harvest is not affected by diseases, a factor that Mr. Murimi says is a great advantage since controlling diseases in open fields is very challenging. Another Multigrow Investments member, Mr. Peter Kinyanjui who grows Blue Agapanthus on a 1 acre piece of land says that he has no reason to look back and regret why he abandoned subsistence farming. Mr. Kinyanjui however notes that due to the fact that they are grown in open fields, the flowers are susceptible to various climatic changes. For instance, frost which at times hit most parts of the country severely affect open field flowers.

The effects of the frost are expected to reflect in the harvest season which is at its peak from March to May. During a good season, an acre of Blue Agapanthus produces approximately 1,000 stems. The farmers usually have three season of between March-May, July-August and November- December.

Other challenges facing small scale flower farming includes high cost of inputs, and transportation. Mr. Murimi says that this at times results to quality compromise. He calls on the government to help the smsll scale farmers access vehicles equipped with coolers to retain the quality during transportation to the airport. KFC Chief Executive Mrs. Jane Ngige says the Council has been supportive to the farmers especially in providing trainings on good flower production practices.

The Council also audited some smallscale groups in Kinangop and Kipipiri in Nyandarua County which revealed that the main challenge facing the growers is failure to keep records on the performance of their flowers. Mrs. Ngige reiterates that KFC is committed to help the small scale farmers, which she says has been positively contributing to poverty alleviation and youth empowerment as envisaged in the country’s Vision 2030 Blueprint.

 
Imarisha Naivasha Launches

Environmental Awareness Programme

Targeting School Children

An environmental awareness and cleanup project, targeting school children and communities living around Lake Naivasha, has been launched courtesy of Imarisha Naivasha and the Elsamere Centre for Education in Sustainability.

Dubbed the “Lake Naivasha Basin Schools Environmental Outreach and Cleanup Programme”, the one year project seeks to impart knowledge and skills on environmental protection and solid waste management among children and local communities through sponsored cleanups of shopping centres and residential areas within the Basin.

“Young minds are very impressionable and that is why it is important for us to reach out to them with the message of environmental protection because they are the future custodians of the environment,” Susan, an Education Officer at Elsamere, Said

The theme of the project is “clean environment, healthy lives.” The organizers chose Kamere village as a launching pad for the project. The event attracted hundreds of participants including learners from four different schools, representatives from Non Governmental Organizations, government agencies, private businesses, local authorities and community based organizations. Over 200 pupils drawn from Sher Academy, Sher Moi School, Maua primary school and Mvuke primary schools attended the event which was funded by Imarisha. KenGen and Finlays donated trucks which were used to transport the collected waste.

Various stakeholders like KenGen, Elsamere, NEMA, Finlays and Kwa- Muhia Environmental Group were ably represented. Kongoni Assistant County Commissioner, Mr. John Victor Opondo and Hells Gate location Assistant Chief represented the Nakuru County Government.

The Naivasha sub-county environment officer Mr. Sammy Ngigi was also in attendance.

Speaking during the event, Mr. Opondo pledged his support to the project, saying that it would benefit the community and commended Imarisha Naivasha and Elsamere for their great work as sponsors.

“We know Imarisha has done a good job in Kwa Muhia and seeing them here is therefore reassuring. Kamere will now be a different place free of uncollected garbage thanks to this project. We would like to see this replicated in other villages as well,” he said. Floriculture

 
CFC Stanbic Bank Naivasha Horticultural Fair 2015 Building Better Lives!

The CFC Stanbic Bank Naivasha Horticultural Fair will be 13 years old this year. Starting from humble beginnings in 2002, the Naivasha Horticultural Fair has grown to be one of the biggest Horticultural Shows in Africa. From an initially purely horticultural perspective the NHFAIR is branching out into the whole agricultural sector. Every year the number of stands and the number of visitors increases, from 60 stands in 2002 to over 200 stands in 2015.

The relaxed atmosphere and spacious venue attracts the crème de la crème of the agricultural sector. Many exhibitors take the opportunity to launch new products and innovations at the NHFAIR, so as a visitor you have a one-stop venue that gets you in contact with all your suppliers, and you are also kept informed on all the new market trends – very important in a fast evolving business. Decision makers from both sides of the industry attend, and a lot of business is concluded. There is ample parking, loads of space, a great food hall and a children’s entertainment area. So not only can visitors catch up on business, they can combine it with a family day out. The NHFAIR is run by a small organising committee that operates on an entirely voluntary basis. The Exhibitors and visitors are proud to know that 100% of their donations go to good causes. Every year more and more funds are raised for charity and are dispersed through the NHFAIR Trust. The NHFAIR partners with other donors in order to increase the effective value of donations and to raise the

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Till Roses Do us Apart !

There is a chance that even as you read this third rate column I’m facing a commission of enquiry investigating my character for the last six months. The commission most likely to be chaired by my father in-law with his first born, as the lead counsel will have the mandate to probe, investigate and recommend to the whole chain of Eve’s descendants if I’m a man enough to take care of their daughter.

 

As I fix these words to make some sense, the hosts of divorcees are knocking my door. This has nothing to do with being incapacitated to perform my duties as a husband but it is purely malice from the enemies of my family developments. But it can all be blamed on IFTEX, the self-proclaimed international exhibition. It all started when they requested the first lady to open the 4th show in Kenya.

She caused all this because I had informed Officerless, the Eve’s descendant I swore in front of a mammoth crowd that I will never look left, right or backward when am walking with her till death does us apart that all roses grown in Kenya are for export. I had convinced her that the only time Kenyans are allowed to buy roses is during valentine and funerals.

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Mealy Bugs On Roses

By Oscar Shilliebo

Mealybugs in Kenya were original pests that attacked the coffee plants in the eighties but as the flower and rose growing industry begun to thrive, the pests found a new host and were transferred through to roses from the coffee bushes through coffee stakes that were used to hold the rose beds together and as well through grafted roses.

 

Before the onset of IPM and use of biological methods to manage especially the red spider mites in roses, Mealybugs were not a major pest in rose growing. The reason being that most Miticides used to manage the spider mites were also controlling the mealy bugs and other pests on the rose crop. But as the pest management practices shifted more towards IPM and biological control especially for the spider mites which use to account for more than 40% of the total chemical cost the attentions then shifted and other pests begun to be of importance. One such pest is the Mealy bug.

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Kenyan Pepper Threatened by Pest

K enya’s pepper exports to the European Union (EU) risk a ban following the emergence of a new and lethal pest that has wrecked havoc on the crop in different parts of the country.

 

Farmers in pepper growing areas of central Kenya, Naivasha, Athi River, Kitengela and Isinya have been placed on high alert following the outbreak of the pest called False Codling Moth (FCM).

 

Scientists said no pesticide has been identified to deal with the new threat which has already seen capsicum produce from Uganda banned from the EU market.

 

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