Category Archives: Agriculture

Mata Hari F1 Onion

 There is a new Onion variety that is taking the Kenyan market by storm.

Mata Hari F1, a variety from Bayer CropScience is high yielding with upto 30T per acre. It has a deep red colour that which consumers prefer. This variety matures in 100 days after transplanting.

Mata Hari F1 in Yatta

Note the deep red colour


Yield from quater of an acre in West Pokot


Onions ready for market.



Maize Season starts in Kenya

It’s the season of maize planting here in #Kenya.

Farmers are ready for the season but the major challenges this year are the Maize Lethal Necrosis and the low and inconsistent rainfall. Ideally the long rains should have started by April 1st but we are yet to see them.

Despite all these challenges farmers are hoping for a good harvest in 2014.


Purple Tea: all you need to know about this variety

Farmers have been asking me about purple tea and whether they should plant it or not. Well here is all you need to know about this variety.

Purple Tea of Kenya

Purple Tea of Kenya

Purple Tea of Kenya is a very rare tea that is sourced directly from small scale farmers. It has sweet woodsy notes with a pleasant lingering astringency. The new purple variety has higher medicinal properties than green and black tea and its seeds produce oil suitable for cooking, cosmetics and the pharmaceutical industries.

The variety was released in 2011 by Tea Research Foundation of Kenya after 25 Years of extensive research work.
The released varieties are TRFK 371/3 and TRFK 430/90. The advantages of this variety are:
√ suitable for mechanised harvesting.
√ Drought, frost, disease and pest resistant
√ Yield about 50 percent more and enhance profitability on better quality.
√ Fetches 4 times more in prices than ordinary Tea.
√ Wide adaptability and suitable for all designated tea growing regions and soils.

√Needs a separate processing unit installed.
√.Purple Tea market is not well established and there needs to be a lot of marketing on this product.3.

What is Special about Purple Tea? Why is it expensive?
√ The most special attribute of this variety is HEALTH ENHANCING found in Anthocyanin (purple pigmentation). This is an antioxidant that helps protect your heart health and boost CANCER particularly breast Cancer. .

√ Anthocyanins are also widely used as preservatives especially in the food industry.

√ This variety is also used in Manufacture of instant teas, Ready To Drink (RTD) tea, and other fast moving consumer goods such as health care products, foods and confectioneries.

Can Farmers for for purple tea?

The decision rests with the farmer. A processor is being set up in Nandi county and it will take time for it to be completed. For those planting now, it means that if the crop matures early you will harvest with the normal black tea and sell at normal price till such a time that the processor is ready. I farmers not to uproot the black tea in the farms but do a progressive shift because even if the processor is fully operational the challenge will be getting the right quantity for processing.

World food day

Yesterday I celebrated Word food day by training farmers in Nyandarua County. The event was held at Engineer stadium and it was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture in the Region. The Guest of honor was Hon. Daniel Waithaka Mwangi, the area Governor.

Herbicides such as Roundup Turbo is an effective product for land Preparion

Herbicides such as Roundup Turbo is an effective product for land Preparion

I used this opportunity to train farmers on potato management practices.  Nyandarua County is a high potential area in terms of horticulture and most of the small scale farmers grow brassicas,pototoes and snow peas. With the recent efforts by the government  to upgrade the status of potato as a strategic crop, most farmers are now taking a big interest on potato farming. Potato is the second most important food crop in Kenya after maize. It is also an important source of revenue, employing more than 2.5 million people in potato farming activities across the entire production chain.


Training farmers on potato management

The quality of potatoes produced in Kenya do not meet market demands and this has been attributed to a number of factors, including low quality seeds and poor management practices. This has resulted to high end buyers importing the produce from South africa and Egypt.

Farmers following the training session

Farmers following the training session

I used this opportunity to train farmers on the importance of using good quality seed and how to manage their crops. I also gave them the spray program and explain to them the kind of products to use.

Potato planting in Nyandarua.

Potato planting in Nyandarua.

9th Triennial Conference of the African Potato Association 30th June-4th July 2013

APAThe African Potato Association (APA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya, the National Potato Council of Kenya, and the International Potato Center are hosting the Ninth Triennial African Potato Association (APA) conference, which will be held at the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha, Kenya from the 30th of June through to the 4th of July 2013.

The meeting will have 3 specific objectives:

First, it is an opportunity for scientists from within and outside of the continent to review the progress of potato and sweetpotato research in Africa.

Second, the forum enables scientists to engage with other stakeholders (development agents, input dealers, innovative farmers, etc.) who also participate through exhibitions, presentations and panel discussions.

Third, out of this sharing of knowledge and learning, we anticipate that new public-public and public-private sector partnerships will emerge.

The conference will contain the following major themes:

  1. Appropriate policies for germplasm exchange, food and nutrition security, and trade in Africa
  2. Getting seed systems moving
  3. Major advances in breeding and crop management
  4. Innovations in postharvest management, processing technologies, marketing systems and  technology transfer
  5. New evidence concerning nutritional value and changing behaviours


Re-thinking Food Security in Africa: New Paradigms, New approaches convened by SID EastAfrica June 12-13 2013

Stake holders from the agriculture sector are this week convening in Nairobi for a symposium on food security in Africa.

The meeting,  organized by  Society for International Development (SID) with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.  aims at promoting, reflecting and conversing on the seemingly elusive challenge of attaining food security in the continent.  The major focus areas that will be discussed are: Ideology, The African farmer, Technology, Gender dynamics, youth and food aid. The study areas listed above are intended to answer some of the questions frequently asked regarding the inability of the continent to ensure food security for its citizens.

Read more about the symposium on ypard blog

Gangnam Style Parody- (The farmers way)

South Korean rapper Psy’s, Gangnam Style has become the most-watched YouTube video of all time with more than 885m views.

There have been so many parody songs of this single released on 15th July 2012 but the one that got my eye this morning is Farmer style (Gangnam style), A parody music video by The Peterson Farm Bros (Greg, Nathan, and Kendal Peterson) that promotes agriculture!

Here are the lyrics to the Parody

We are the Peterson Farm Bros, and we’re farming and we grow it
We love agriculture, and we want the world to know it
Farming is a way of life with many different flavors
Being stewards of the gifts God gave us

Out here on the farm,
We’re running green John Deere Tractors
Out here on the farm,
We work in many weather factors
Out here on the farm,
We’re working hard to raise your food
Out here on the farm. On the family farm.

Agriculture, is so important to me, (and should be to you) HAY!
It feeds the world and will never ever cease to be, We need to eat!
We all need farmers to provide us with our food, food, food, food!

Workin’ farmer style.
Farmer Style
Work, work, work, work, working farmer style

Haaaaaaay, for my cattle
Work, work, work, work, working farmer style
Haaaaaaay, from the field
Work, work, work, work

Farmers are working harder than you might imagine
But that is just because we have a job that is our passion
We will work sunup to sundown time and time again
As if working for the Lord and not for men

Out here on the farm
We get away from lights of cities
Out here on the farm
The countryside is nice and pretty
Out here on the farm.
We work together as a family.
Out here on the farm. On the family farm.

Agriculture, is so important to me, (and should be to you) HEY!
It feeds the world and will never ever cease to be, We need to eat!
We all need farmers to provide us with our food, food, food, food!

Workin’ farmer style

Hay, hay, hay, hay
Is what we feed our cattle
So they grow big and strong
And then become the food that keeps us living nice and long.
Our crops like corn and wheat
Help make diets complete
Without the farmers working
We would all be starving
You know what I’m saying?

Workin’ farmer style

Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey

Hey, thank the farmers!
Hey, for your food!

Feeding the world conference


Feeding the World Africa

“Africa is the missing piece in the global food security puzzle. If Africa is seen as a problem today, it may very well hold the key to global food security tomorrow.” –Pascal Lamy, Director General, WTO, speaking at Feeding the World summit in Geneva.
Africa has the greatest amount of arable land left fallow but very low current levels of trade in food. In contrary in less than 30 years Brazil turned itself from a food importer into one of the world’s breadbaskets. During those same 30 years Africa went from being a net food-exporting continent to being a net food importer.
Bringing policy-makers together with agribusiness, donors, farmer organisations and civil society we will discuss what Africa needs in order to reproduce the Brazilian miracle.
Join and debate:
1.What government policies will help Africa exploit its latent agricultural potential, enabling the development of vibrant markets in rice, maize, soy beans etc?
2.How can farmers be supported with the skills, financing and access to markets that they need?
3.How can new technologies boost yields and solve critical nutrition needs?
Register your interest through ,

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Lessons learnt from Thika farmers.


A horticulture farm in Thika

This weekend, I had the previllage to visit a farm I managed during my days as an intern at Bayer CropScience and I must say I am impressed by the farming going on there.
If all Kenyan farmers were as aggressive as the farmers I met today then we would definately be able to feed this country and have plenty more to sell.
What I learnt is that farming is not just ploughing the land and putting seeds on the ground. There is a lot more that needs to be done for example farm scouting for pests and diseases. A farmer also needs to understand the nutrients that are needed in the farm and he should ensure that his/her farm is well maintained.
The most important thing is that farming should be treated as a business and this calls for record keeping. A serious farmer should be able to keep records of all the activities in the farm.
Another important thing is market information, before you decide to venture into any type of farming you should do a market research to know if there is a good market for your produce.

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