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November 19, 2018

The Week

Nyeri teacher ditches chalk for farming

BY WAMBUGU KANYI

 

Bilha Imbuka quit teaching to venture into horticulture. She grows onions, tomatoes and potatoes at Embaringo in Kieni West, Nyeri county.

Imbuka started farming in 2010 after training nursery school children for several years where she was getting a monthly income of Sh6,000.

“I started with a capital of Sh18,000 which I had saved for years in my teaching career. I hired an eighth of an acre piece of land and started with 50 grammes of onion seeds,” she said.

The seeds, she said, take about six weeks to transplant.

Imbuka, who is a mother of one, has since expanded to two acres of land which she has hired from her neighbour for Sh4,000 per year.

She adds that transport is big challenge as roads in the area are deplorable during rainy seasons.

Imbuka harvests about 9,000kg of onions after every three months. She sells a kilogramme for between Sh20 during poor seasons and Sh80 during peak seasons.

 

Chuka dairy farmers receive milk coolers

BY DENNIS DIBONDO

 

Dairy farmers in Chuka have received five milk coolers from the CDF kitty.

Igambang’ombe constituency MP Muthomi Njuki said the coolants are now operational in order to improve production of milk in the constituency.

Njuki urged farmers to initiate value addition projects in order to generate more income since the area is best known for dairy farming.

He attributed the low production of milk to poor indigenous breeds, inappropriate feed management and inadequate disease control programme.

“About 700 dairy farmers will also benefit from an artificial insemination programme. We will be providing more milk coolers the next financial year to reduce losses from spoilt milk,” Njuki told farmers after commissioning a milk coolant in Cheera.

The coolants in Kiracha, Cheera, Kiereni, Ndagani, Mukuuni can hold 2,000 litres of milk each.

 

Kenyan wheat scientists win international award

BY FRANK MUCHUGU

 

Three wheat scientists have been awarded the prestigious 2015 Gene Stewardship Award for their contribution to food security in Kenya.

The scientists, Ruth Wanyera, a plant pathologist, and wheat breeders Godwin Macharia and Peter Njau, have helped to increase the area under wheat production in Kenya from 160,000 hectares in 2009 to 180,000 hectares in 2013 and productivity in individual farmers’ fields from 2.5 to 3.0 hectares.

Ronnie Coffman, vice-chair of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative, said the Kenya team has over the last eight years built a collaborative platform in Njoro to test wheat germplasm from all over the world, and also developed the capacity of a rust screening programme that has successfully tested thousands of the world’s wheat varieties against rust.

Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation director general Dr Eliud Kireger congratulated the scientists based in Karlo-Njoro for the recognition in wheat research.

Kalro-Njoro was in 2011 developed into a world class screening facility for ug99-a stem rust which is a threat to the world wheat production because most wheat varieties are susceptible to it.

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