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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


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.

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


I am so excited to announce that I have been nominated for the BAKE Awards 2012… That’s the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE). The awards which will be held on 28th April 2012.

I am so humbled by this great recognition.

I would like to take this chance to request you all to vote for me via thisVoting link … in the Agriculture category!

Voting closes on the 26th April 2012…. so GET VOTING people!!

Thank you all again for faithfully reading my blog, and supporting me in the the struggle towards an Agribusiness driven economy with the youth playing a bigger role through innovative ideas.

VOTE for me!!!


Agriculture can solve the problem of youth unemployment

Youth unemployment is one of the most acute problems affecting developing countries Kenya included. A lack of basic education ranks high among the reasons for this problem. However, youth unemployment is compounded by the fact that a large portion of the population in developing countries tends to be youth.

The formal economy is unable to create enough employment opportunities to absorb this constant supply of labour-seeking youth. Most youth finish their studies and go to towns in search of jobs and it takes most of them them an average of 2-3 years to get a Job which pays Ksh. 40,ooo a Month. This 3 years is a time which goes into waste and the graduates should have used this time to venture into agriculture and make more money . Its is a fact that agriculture has a potential to lift a lot of people out of poverty by creating Jobs in the Agriculture sector and boosting food security in our nation thus freeing the resources used to import food to be used in other development projects, This will hasten the achievement of Kenya’s Vision 2030 as they say-  “A wellfed nation is a free nation”

From my observation youth participation in the agricultural sector is very low, largely because the sector is highly unattractive – due to risks, costs, inefficiency and its labour-intensive nature. Motivating the youth to view agriculture as a career opportunity will require a a lot of l intervention from all sectors. The Government and the stake holders should come up with realistic strategies  to attract gadget-loving and efficiency-prone young people into the agricultural sector

In the first instance, those within the school  system must be targeted. There are various ways the youth can venture into agribusiness, one being integration of ICT in agriculture I want to highlight the case of MFarm Kenya   a software solution and agribusiness company based in Nairobi who are doing a wonderful job of connecting farmers with the market and also providing advice on best farming practices. Some of the services they offer are:

  1. Enable farmers to inquire current market prices of different crops from different regions and/or specific markets.
  2. Aggregate farmers needs/orders and connect them with farm input suppliers.
  3. Enable farmers to sell collectively and connect them with a ready market.
These are the kind of creative ideas that our youth should be encouraged to come up with- Solutions to the problems we face in the field.
The second way is staring up a business e.g green house farming. For a long time the youth had been having problems getting a start up capital but thanks to the government the youth can get loans through Youth Fund  and the good news is that the President has  promised to improve the youth kitty, which was established in 2007 with an initial capital of Sh1 billion, but now stands at Sh3.8 billion.
With these structures now in place I urge my fellow graduates to rise to the challenge as the ball is now on their court.
Happy Easter People
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