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> NAKURU

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> FOOD

> MERU

Roads projects eases farm to market journey

Nyandaru faults Nyahururu over resource allocation Pg 12

Nyeri targets 80 bags of potatoes per acre Pg 6

Meru’s Ethiopian coffee model takes shape

Pg 11

Pg 21

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ISSUE 39, 2018 NYERI

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Billions now milked from dairy farmers > INSIDE

“WHEN A FARMER SPEAKS, NO ONE LISTENS. IF A FARMER REVOLTS, THE PROCESSOR WILL SIMPLY REFUSE TO BUY THE MILK. WHERE WILL THE FARMER TAKE THE MILK?”

MT. KENYA STAR

D

aily farmers across the country are counting billions of losses in income following drastic drop of farmgate milk prices, threatening to slow the enthusiasm that has characterized increased investments in dairy farming especially among the youth. The cost of farmgate milk has decreased by 27 percent but prices of farm inputs and feed has increased by at least 10 percent during the same period, CONTD. ON PAGE 2

Low milk prices at the farm gate paid by processors are seen as likely to erase the gains made in the expansion of the dairy sector especially the entry of youthful dairy farmers.

> KIRINYAGA

Mwea to host construction boards factory

Pg 8

> CORPORATE NEWS

Equitel customers now get free hospital insurance Pg 27 > THARAKA NITHI

Muthomi government to pay half NIHF fees for families Pg 23

KTDA SAYS LOGGING BAN TO AFFECT TEA INDUSTRY PG3


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NEWS

I ISSUE 39, 2018

Dairy farmers losing billions to milk processors CONTD. FROM PAGE 1

increasing the pain of the farmer. A survey conducted by MT. KENYA STAR through phone interviews with various managers of dairy cooperative societies across Mt. Kenya region revealed that milk processors are now paying an average of Sh35 per litre of raw milk compared to last year when the price was Sh42. But the farmer gets less because the cooperative societies must make deductions to pay for the cost of operating and maintaining the milk coolers from where the processors collect it. Currently, a farmer is getting an average of Sh27 per litre, a price they say is the cost of producing the same litre. Dominant milk buyers in the region are Brookside Dairies and New KCC. They set the price they will buy raw milk and the farmer has no power to negotiate the pricing, a factor which points to a major need for the government to intervene in regulating the pricing. Cooperative managers say their hands are tied because they have to apply soft diplomacy in balancing the expectations of farmers who are complaining about the low milk prices while still being careful not to jeopardize the contracts with the processors, in whose absence they would have nowhere to sell highly perishable milk. “We, the primary processors, are

Kenya’s dairy farmers operate at the mercy of processors. Farmers’ call for action on pricing has been ignored by the Kenya Dairy Board.

voiceless,” said a dairy cooperative manager in Kirinyaga who declined his name published because of antagonizing the partnering processor. “When a farmer speaks, no one listens. If a farmer revolts, the processor will simply refuse to buy the milk. Where will the farmer take the milk? Farmers are highly disadvantaged in the milk value chain and the government is doing nothing about it.” Farmers equally say they have been left alone even by bodies like Kenya Dairy Board whose mandate is to regulate, develop and promote the dairy sector. Among its functions is to “secure reasonable and stable prices” to the producers of milk. Kenya Dairy Board senior management failed to

answer general industry questions relating to pricing despite the questions being sent a week before publication of this story. MT. KENYA STAR had sought to know what measures the board is taking to ensure stability and certainty of milk prices among other issues. The board is the custodian of the dairy sector data in Kenya which if shared can help the public understand the industry and make better investment decisions. Farmers plead for action Farmers say it is unfair that while processors are always assured of their pricing margins, the farmer is not and blames the national government for failure to act on these issues fast

enough. “If the margins of the processor are threatened, they either reduce what they pay the farmer or increase the cost of the packaged milk. But what alternative do farmers have? None. This is unfair business practice that squeezes the farmer yet is the primary producer,” said Martin Ndirangu, a farmer from Gathuthi in Tetu, Nyeri County, who delivers his milk to Ihithe Dairy Cooperative Society. Farmers also say they fail to understand why processed milk prices continue to be increased while milk prices at the farmgate remain the same even during drought when the commodity is scarce. It is even worse for farmers because the just ended drought means there is no enough fodder for the cows. “There is no fodder, and this is the biggest problem. Animals have exhausted the silage stock. This month, I used all what I earned from milk to buy fodder,” said Ndirangu. At times the fodder is available but far from home which increases the cost of transport and labour.” He laments that at times, milk payment slips read negative figures when farmers take inputs on credit from societies compelling them to dig deeper into their pockets to cater for some costs of production. According to Ndirangu, a farmer can only be comfortable in the venture if a liter of milk is to be paid at least Sh45. “With a cow producing an average of 14 liters in a day, then a farmer is capable of earning at least Sh10,000 per month after deducting all his expenses including hired labour,” he explains. Ndirangu says prices have stagnated at Sh27 to Sh42 for a period of four to five years though prices of feed and salt have more than doubled during the same period. “For instance, five kilos pack of salt that cost Sh550 three years ago today goes for Sh1,050. A bag of dairy meal which retailed at about Sh1,000 then, today goes for about Sh2,400,” he explains. Evans Mwangi from Mukurwe-ini who delivers his milk at Gakindu Dairy Cooperative Society shares most of Ndirangu’s sentiments. He says the dairy is currently buying milk from farmers at Sh31. But he laments that the money is very little to cater for production costs and still earn the farmer profit from the dairy venture. For him as well, the prices of milk at the dairy have remained constant for the last five years but prices of animal

inputs continue to increase. He proposes that it is time his dairy society emulates other dairies and embarks on value addition so that it can pay more to its members. “The cooperative societies should also look for market for its milk elsewhere where better prices are offered, and payments made promptly,” he says. He suggests that a farmer should be paid at least Sh50 for every liter delivered which he says is enough to cater for expenses and earn a farmer profit. But asked why cooperatives pay farmers peanuts, Gakindu Dairy Manager Samson Mukundi says it is the processors, Brookside Dairies and New KCC which determine or rather dictate the prices they will pay for the raw milk. “Brookside Dairy is currently buying milk at Sh30 per liter while New KCC is paying at Sh32. After deduction of operation costs, what gets to the farmer is around Sh27,” he said. Many societies are paying between Sh27 and Sh28. Gakindu Dairy pays Sh31 per liter in what he attributes to competition from a neighboring dairy which have ventured into value addition. Mukundi says it is difficult to set a standard price for milk as payment to farmers depends on production cost of each cooperative. “There is also the government policy that requires that cooperative societies pay farmers 80 per cent of the total milk sale,” he adds. However, dairy cooperatives like Mukurwe-ini Wakulima which embraced value addition pay relatively better prices to farmers. Wakulima is paying Sh35 per litre. Farmers who are not members of any cooperative society also earn better from the sale of their fresh milk than those selling through cooperatives and directly to processors. While Othaya Dairy Cooperative Society pays farmers Sh27 per litre, John Kagombe, who left the society a couple of years ago and decided to sell his milk direct to consumers earns Sh50 per liter which is much better compared to those affiliated to societies. He says selling milk directly to consumers in Othaya town eliminated brokers who ate into his profits. “I was among the five top producers of milk when I was a member of the society. I used to deliver over 100 kilos in a day but opted out due to poor management of the society,” he says. While opening a cooling plant at Ihururu Dairy Cooperative Society recently, Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga urged the management to think of value addition to get better prices of milk in the market. The governor told the management to look for ways of cutting production cost singling out the use of solar energy to cut on electricity bills.

We, the primary processors, are voiceless.”


ISSUE 39, 2018 I

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MT KENYA STAR

MT. KENYA STAR A tea factory in Kericho owned by Unilever Tea Kenya will get 98 percent of its power from solar following commencement of the construction of a 600-kilowatts solar power plant in a move that could offer lessons to other tea processing companies. The company said the solar plant will “generate substantial savings on cost of power”. Williamson Tea was the first tea company to invest in a big solar power project when in 2014, it completed a 1-megawatt solar farm at its Changoi Tea Farm in Bomet County Williamson Tea said the solar system has cut its energy costs by around 30 percent, supplying clean solar electricity during the daytime to meet most of the tea processing factory’s energy demand. KTDA on its part as invested in several mini-hydro generating projects to power some of its factories in a bid to reduce the high cost of electricity sourced from the national grid. Betty Maina, the Environment Principal Secretary Tea has suggested that KTDA adopt energy-efficient air blowers in their drying processes. “Economically, KTDA will potentially save in energy expenses, a total of Sh16 billion annually which can be ploughed back as bonuses for farmers hence improving individual family incomes as well as save 13,416 hectares of trees cut to provide fuel for use in tea factories,” she said.

MT. KENYA STAR & BUSINESS DAILY

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enya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is in a dilemma over the ban on logging as all its factories use wood fuel for drying green teas, with officials saying this may result into a loss of at least Sh5 billion in new expenditure. Shortage of wood fuel will mean that the factory will revert into expensive diesel to power the tea drying process, said Peter Kanyago, the Chairman of KTDA. “The ban affected us badly, even though we have been growing our own trees which we harvest for tea processing,” Kanyago told reporters in Nyeri. Higher expenditure may mean that farmer’s bonus often paid in the third quarter of the year are affected. Kenya government banned logging in the wake of reports triggered by social media showing the devastation of forests across the country just before the onset of the current rains. Senior management of the Kenya Forest Service have been sacked over allegations of complicity in the logging. KTDA

switched to use of wood fuel several years ago because of the higher expense diesel used for the same purpose. But that move has raised concerns over a period of time because its potential to affect forest cover inducing farm-grown trees which KTDA buys from farmers. But the agency has continuously defended itself saying it has acquired mass acreage of land that is now planted with trees to replace those it uses. “We would like to urge the government to lift the ban on our forests because we planted the trees and it is going to affect production of tea. Factories use firewood for their boilers. Trees cut for this purpose are replanted,” he said. East African Tea Traders Association (EATTA) has also called on the government to exempt tea factories from the ban. “Unless the ban is suspended most tea producers will have to close down as the business model would not be able to sustain the costs,” said Edward Mudibo, the Managing Director of EATTA. “Tea production uses up to 70 per cent of wood energy. This

therefore means the tea industry which entirely relies on firewood to generate heat for tea drying will be adversely affected,” he added. He said the tea industry is in the forefront of forest conservation activities like propagating tree seedlings, mainly eucalyptus, which are then released to the local communities for planting exotic trees for wood fuel and indigenous trees for conservation. “The blanket ban shall have adverse effects on the tea industry,

The blanket ban shall have adverse effects on the tea industry, Kenya’s leading foreign exchange earner and major employer and this has to be protected,” he added. Tea is the largest foreign exchange earner in Kenya.

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Kenya’s leading foreign exchange earner and major employer and this has to be protected,” he added. Tea is the largest foreign exchange earner in Kenya after remittances contributing over Sh114 billion in 2013, Sh101 billion in 2014, Sh124 billion in 2015, Sh120.6 billion in 2016 and Sh129 billion in 2017. A report commissioned earlier by the European Commission cautioned that the rising demand for wood fuel in Kenya will eventually have a negative impact on the country’s forest cover. The report, ‘Timber Trade Flows within, to and from East African Countries’ singled out KTDA as one of the main drivers the demand for wood fuel. “Demand for fuelwood is rising especially for the large consumers like the tea industry. Kenya Tea Development Agency has 65 tea factories which use fuel‐wood for their boilers with some boilers being 100% firewood dependent. These factories consume over 223,000 tonnes of fuel‐wood per year with a market value of approximately Sh167 million delivered to the factories,” notes the report.


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I ISSUE 39, 2018

NYERI

Nyeri targets 80 bags of potatoes per acre EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

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he County Government of Nyeri has turned its attention in boosting potato production as part of mitigating against food insecurity and enhancing income for farmers. The interventions include distribution of certified seeds, value addition, offering extension services to potato farmers, and marketing among others. The other will include reducing post-harvest losses by building storage facilities. The county government in collaboration with the national government distributed over 18 tonnes of certified potato seeds worth Sh54 million to farmers to be planted during this rainy season. Flagging off the seeds outside his offices in Nyeri town, Governor Mutahi Kahiga said the potatoes will be given to 10 famers’ groups engaged in potato farming in Kieni constituency. The county government will also buy 25 more tons. The county needs about 50 tons of clean potato seeds. “We are targeting to get a maximum harvest of about 60 to 80 bags per acre,” he said. To help address post-harvest losses of potato produce, the county has set aside Sh2 million to construct a cold storage facility at Kiambogo in Kieni West and later in Kiawara in Kieni East.

Governor Mutahi Kahiga loads a sack of potatoes in a vehicle during the event. He is with the CEC for Agriculture Henry Kinyua. “This will prolong the shelf life right there in the mountains and of the produce to between four in the plains. We should not allow to six months as well as help inthis rain that is now falling to just crease its keeping quality,” stated go away to the ocean,” he said. the governor. “Currently most of “As a county government, we the produce is sold immediately are going to be out there in the after harvesting and this leads to next two weeks rolling out the exploitation by middle men,” he program of digging water pans,” stated. said the governor. “Potatoes should ideally be On exploitation of potato stored in a dark environment befarmers by middlemen, the govercause at warmer and more humid nor said they will work with the temperatures, they tend to start five potato producing counties to sprouting leading to reduced arrest the problem. marketability,” he continued. “We are about five potato The governor called on farmers producing counties within this not to over rely on rain fed agriregion with Nairobi providing the culture but turn to water harvestbiggest market and we are looking for use when rain is scarce. “It ing at ways and means of getting is time we start harvesting water a common legislation on potato

marketing,” he said. However, he said, the most effective way of fighting this is by storing the potatoes and selling them when the prices are good. He says potatoes have a storage period of six to eight months and farmers do not need to sell their harvest simply because they have matured. The county Agriculture CEC, Henry Kinyua, said the county government’s approach is to ensure the commodity is given a value chain approach beginning from the seed to the market. On marketing, the CEC said the aim of the county government is to ensure that the potatoes are marketed in kilos. “This must be done in a way that it doesn’t oppress the farmer,” Kinyua said. A law requiring potato farmers to package and sell their crop in 50 kilo was passed in 2014 in potato growing counties but brokers seems to have ignored the rule. Selling the produce in 50 kilo bags would earn farmers more than the 180 kilo bags they were being forced to pack into. The hectarage under potato in Nyeri has grown from 8,300 hectares in 2014 to slightly over 13,100 in 2017. Irish potato is the second most important food crop in Nyeri after maize and its production is entirely by the smallscale farmers putting between 0.5 to 1.5 acres of land under the crop.

Biashara Sacco to open a branch in Nairobi

Members of Biashara Sacco follow proceedings during the AGM in Nyeri last week. EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

Biashara Sacco will open a branch in Nairobi in June this year. The Sacco chairman, Kamau Njamuku, said the move will make work easier for customers who are also business people who operate businesses in other counties but go for goods in Nairobi. “The new branch will be of great use to Nairobi residents and those traveling to Nairobi from other counties to buy goods as they can do their withdrawal at the branch,” said the chairman. He said the opening of the new branch was also due to the realization that some customers from Nairobi are currently

forced to commute from Nairobi to Thika where there is a branch. He said the Sacco is looking for premises in a strategic area within Nairobi Central Business District which will house the branch. The financial institution also approved a dividend payment of 17 percent. This is an improvement compared to last year’s dividend of 16 percent. He also announced that the Sacco’s core capital grew from Sh239 million in 2016 to Sh299 million in 2017 representing 25 percent growth. Loan portfolio rose from Sh766 million to Sh966 million in the same year representing 26 per cent growth.

KTDA’s mini hydro’s output slowed by low water volume EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

The Sh1.7 billion Gura Hydro Power project was unable to produce to its capacity due to drought that affected the country at the beginning of the year. According to Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) chairman, Peter Kanyago, the project was only able to produce 1.2 megawatts daily instead of six due to declining water levels in River Gura. During its peak season, the plant is capable of producing six megawatts in a day. Only two megawatts are used by the factories while the extra is sold to the national grid. But the plant could generate only 1.2 out of the two needed for the factories consumption. The project had been supplying power to the four factories and the decline in energy generation meant the factories were compelled to acquire extra power from the national grid instead of supplying. Leaders blamed this on harvesting of trees in Aberdare forest which is

one of the major water towers in the country. The hydro power project also draws its water from the forest. “If we continue cutting down the trees at that rate, the river will dry completely,” said Kanyago. Kanyago said the project can earn every farmer one shilling more as it cuts on production cost while extra power is sold to Kenya Power and Lighting Company. He said KTDA was willing to cooperate with Kenya Forest Service and the county government to plant more trees to ensure there is enough water in the river. KTDA factories have been planting trees as well as giving some to farmers for free to plant in their farms. “During this rainy season, we urge farmers to come to the factories where we shall give them seedlings to plant so that we can preserve our environment,” said Kanyago. Recently during his visit to Gura River hydro power plant and the hydro power water intake two kilometers into the forest, Nyeri governor, Mutahi

Kahiga, hailed the management for the project. “This is a great initiative coming from our people and this is what good management can achieve,” he said. This is a generation of income which is directed to farmers. It also reduces operation cost of the factories, said the governor. “However it is important to say while this is a noble project touching the lives of quite a number of tea farmers in this county, what we see is pathetic in that quite a lot of destruction of forest is taking place,” said the governor. “Am made to understand that we are talking about harvesting and I don’t still see why we should harvest at a time and a season like this when we do not have enough rains,” he stated. He called on the national government to intervene and stop the cutting down of forest trees. Kahiga said rivers in the county are drying up due to lose of forest cover and called on residents to work towards planting more trees. On its part, the county government of Nyeri will

be spending close to Shs.35 million this year on greening the environment. This will be through issuing fruit and indigenous trees to farmers for planting so as to recover the lost forest cover. According to Peter Kinyua, the regional manager KTDA, Nyeri County, the power project, while generating to capacity, will save the factories Shs. 30 million to 40 million every year. “Our factories have been consuming electricity and we used to pay between Shs. 30 million to 40 million as bills to KPLC every year and this money will now go back to farmers,” he said. The project will go a long way in reducing operations cost for the factories. Apart from reducing cost, the factories will also be generating income from the sale of extra power. The four are Gathuthi, Gitugi, Iria-ini and Chinga factories. However, the electricity is used for electricity power only. The factories KTDA built Gura Mini Hydro plant who have as a result embarked on tree planting projects for provision of wood electicity generation has been slowed by low volume of water in Gura River. fuel for processing tea. PHOTO MUGO THEURI


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KIRINYAGA Mwea to host construction boards factory ers in Mwea who apart from selling the rice, also sell rice straws that are mainly used as fodder for livestock. The rice straws also have an industrial value as in India, they are used to manufacture soft paper, which is preferred for making currency notes.

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factory that uses rice husks to manufacture boards that are used in the construction industry, known as MDF boards, is to be set up in Mwea, Governor Anne Waiguru has said. Rice husks, a byproduct of primary processing of rice are often burnt by the millers. Some millers earlier tried to use the husks to manufacture long burning briquettes but the ash content in them was found to be high and unsuitable for that purpose. Governor Waiguru made this announcement while addressing an international conference on the empowerment of women at the United Nations headquarters in New York. “Kirinyaga county provides 65% of rice needs in Kenya. By way of introducing value addition, we are in the process of setting up a factory that will convert the environmentally hazardous rice husks to MDF to be used for making furniture,” she said. MDFs are defined as Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF), engineered wood or risk husk product made by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibres, combining it with wax and a resin binder, and forming panels by applying high temperature and pressure. MDF is generally denser than plywood. MDF is a high demand product

A farmer in Mwea displays risk husks.

Governor Anne Waiguru at the UN meeting on women in New York. He speech revealled he new plans for the county and projects aimed at empowering women. in Kenya because it is mostly used in the interior finishing’s of residential houses and commercial buildings. It is priced, with one board measuring four by eight feet going for an average of Sh3,200 in the retail market. The boards are used to make such fittings as wardrobes and various cabinets among others. In Kenya, MFDs are mainly manufactured by big wood processors who

use the waste from the processing of the wood to timber into MDFs. With the ongoing stringency on logging in forests, such products are expected to cost even higher. Waiguru is expected to provide further details on how the project will be implemented, with expectations that it will be a private sector driven project, being individual or cooperative owned. Mwea provides sizable

A sample of MDF boards of sale in a hardware shop. Such will be made in Kirinyaga using rice husks from Mwea. raw materials for the factory. The doubling of rice production expected to happen when Thiba Dam is completed will provide more raw materials for the expansion of the factory’s capacity. The manufacture of MDFs will offer a third line of income for rice farm-

Other highlights Waiguru used the New York meeting opportunity to outline her achievements and plans geared towards empowerment of women. “I have already started infrastructural upgrade of our hospitals such as our main hospital in Kerugoya whose bed capacity will increase from 250 to 500 beds in the coming year. We have established a first ever renal unit in the county providing relief to many patients. Further, we have empowered women in Kirinyaga by giving them sole rights to stitch and provide all our hospitals and health facilities in the county with linen and uniform – thus supporting the establishment of a linen factory for women and by women in Kirinyaga County,” she said. “To further enhance the wellbeing of mothers, I have also rolled out a registration drive to ensure all above eighteen years women enroll for the National Government-sponsored “Linda Mama” initiative that seeks to provide free antenatal care, post-natal care, and professional attendant service during child birth,” she added.

Alert on child theft KNA AND MT. KENYA STAR

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ollowing a child theft incident in Kutus a few weeks ago, parents have been warned to be cautious and residents on a look-out as it may a pointer to possible child-theft syndicate in Kirinyaga County. A child was stolen at a Church in Kutus and found in Tharaka Nithi. According to Police in Tharaka Nithi County, in liaison with detectives from Kirinyaga, recovered the baby at Matinia village in Maara constituency and arrested two suspects, a mother and her 22-year-old daughter. The two are currently being held and questioned at Chuka police station. The child was handed over to the mother, Fidellis Mugo who had accompanied the detectives on a rescue mission. Speaking to reporters at the station, Mugo said she had attended a Sunday service at Jesus Winners Ministry in the town where she handed the baby to a friend and went out and on coming back, found the woman and baby missing. “I tried asking other people about their whereabouts but with no success,” said Ms. Mugo adding that she later

Fidellis Mugo with her 4 month old baby who went missing in Kutus and found in Chuka. PHOTO KNA. rushed to the woman’s house and found that she had left with all her belongings, prompting her to report the matter to

police.Chuka Igambang’ombe OCPD Barasa Sayia said upon receiving alert from their colleagues in Kirinyaga, they

started tracking down the suspect. “We found the suspect at her home in Maara while her mother was holding the baby who she claimed she had been with for the last one month,” said Mr. Sayia adding that upon completion of investigations, the two will be arraigned in court. Child-theft incidents are on a rise in Kenya, according to statistics. Babies are often stolen to perform rituals or sold to other families. According to AfroMun forum, these are some of the first steps one should take in case a child gets stolen or lost. Report Immediately to a police station. The moment you know a child is missing, report immediately to a police station. At the station, you will be given an OB number for reference. Provide the police with information about the child, including: A clear and recent picture; name (including nicknames) of the child; age and gender of child; where the child lives goes to school; and any distinguishing marks such as birthmarks and scars. Create awareness in your neighbourhood. If the child was last seen in your neighbourhood, spread information around the area so that the community members who may have an idea help you

out. Turn to the internet. The internet has a number of resources you can use to not only create awareness about the missing child but also find out if the child is featured among the ‘Lost and Found’ children. The Child Welfare Society of Kenya has a missing children database and a portal for reporting a missing child, which can prove useful to you. You can also check out Missing Child Kenya (www.missingchild.co.ke), they update their social media with information about missing and lost and found children. It also offers psychosocial support to affected family members. Protect your children. Teach your child life-saving skills including safety measure they can use to navigate their spaces whether at home or school. Providing an open and safe communication channel between you and your child is vital, as they will be at ease to discuss their fears and concerns. Ensure that the child knows their name and age, as well as your full names, telephone number and address so that it is easier for them to communicate with you or relevant authorities to help in locating them when they get lost.


MT KENYA STAR

ISSUE 39, 2018 I

KIAMBU

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Farmers urged not to uproot coffee MT. KENYA STAR

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iambu residents have been urged not to uproot their coffee stems because the crop is expected to continue its pricing recovery in a way that may end up proving to be a better investment than real estate which has taken over substantial huge chunks of formerly coffee farms. Kiambu Deputy Governor James Nyoro, who is former presidential adviser on agriculture for retired President Mwai Kibaki told residents that reforms being undertaken by the government plus changes in the management of cooperatives will make coffee the green gold that it was. “The potential for producing more coffee in Kiambu is there. We have plans to revive the sector and assist the farmers so that a single tree can produce four times better than it is doing today,” said Nyoro. Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu also urged residents not to uproot their coffee in preference of

The potential for producing more coffee in Kiambu is there. We have plans to revive the sector and assist the farmers so that a single tree can produce four times better than it is doing today constructing rental houses as the crop is expected to regain its former glory and provide much better income to the farmers. “I am also urging investors coming to Kiambu that once they buy one of the many coffee plantations here, they should continue farming coffee and not turn the land into housing estate,” he said, Kiambu has been hit the hardest by the transformation of former agriculture land into real estate investments. Part of the reasons is because of its proximity to the capital city

A Coffee estate in Kiambu. Residents have been urged to preser ... coffee stems. Many have been uprooting in favour of real estate

Nairobi, the epicenter of the housing boom that Kenya is experiencing. Kiambu was also already a host of residencies for the wealthy, especially Muthaiga and Runda, whose expansion has led to exponential rise in the cost of land, enticing farmers to sell. The two however did not say when they will start supporting coffee farmers directly to ensure they increase their yield. During the campaign period, the two promised to facilitate farmers to access cheaper farm inputs but that is yet to happen. This comes even as coffee farmers in countries like Nyeri,

Kirinyaga and Embu are reaping the benefits of reforms within the coffee marketing chain, enabling them to ear between Sh80 to Sh110 per kilogramme of coffee, which is a major improvement compared to prices a few years ago. The diminish of coffee farming in Kiambu has affected Kenya’s overall coffee output because the county hosted some of the biggest coffee estates in the county, government data shows. Currently, coffee production in the country has dropped by 66 per cent in the last 30 years and one of the

key drivers of this drop is that coffee farms are turned to real estates, according to Kenya Coffee Subsector Implementation Committee. Kenya production declined from 130,000 Metric Tonnes in 1987/88 coffee year to around 40,500 MT currently produced. “The area under coffee has equally over the years declined sharply hence leading to the general output decrease. In 1987/88 production year area under coffee was around 170,000 hectares but declined to 114,000 hectares ha in 2015/16 crop year,” Kieyah said.

Cashless system to grow Kiambu’s Sh46m a week revenue MT. KENYA STAR & iLAB

Kiambu County Government says it expects its weekly revenue collection of Sh46 million will increase following the implementation of a cashless revenue collection system that enables residents to pay via mobile phone directly to the county’s accounts. The payment system designed by @iLabAfrica Research Centre in Strathmore University through its other arm- Strathmore Research and consultancy center (SRCC) ensures that revenue collection in the county is a citizen centric automated system contributing to enhanced income streams and provision of services. Speaking during the launch Governor Ferdinand Waititu said that the county collects up to Sh46 million a week and projects collections are expected to shoot up with the cashless system.

“The revenue collected goes directly to our account. This eliminates middlemen who are an extra cost to the County and ensures accountability of the citizens’ revenue,” he said. “We have launched our USSD code *419# through Safaricom which will assist Kiambu residents to pay for some services like parking, market fee, single business permits renewal among others,” Waititu said. “The USSD code is faster and people can pay their taxes wherever they are without going to county offices,” he said. The county has partnered with Cooperative Bank to collect the revenue and residents will get a payment confirmation on their mobile handset. With the launch, the governor noted that this implementation was a way that his administration would enhance revenue collection. “These are some of the steps my county has undertaken to

enhance revenue collection. Improved revenue collection will translate to more development projects for Kiambu citizens. This money is meant for development. We have reviewed all licenses and fees and have lowered them to help Kiambu residents conduct their business without high charges,” Waititu said. Other counties where @ iLabAfrica Research Centre has implemented revenue collection systems are; Taita Taveta County, Busia County, Mombasa County and Kilifi County. Finance executive Wilson Mburu said his department is banking on ICT to cut the loss of funds. “We assessed our problems and we decided to have a roadmap and start collecting money digitally. Our officers will not handle cash as it will be sent directly to the bank by residents,” he said.

Governor Waititu gets time for a jig with a traditional dancer during the launch of the cashless system.


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OPINION

EDITORIAL

Dairy farmers need urgent help

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ur main story highlights the plight of dairy farmers, who as they say, are a voiceless lot that is at the mercy of milk processors and the government which seems to go at a snail pace in addressing their concerns. The issue of farmgate milk pricing must be addressed now if we are to encourage our farmers to continue doing the good work of increasing their milk production as is the case today. Evidently, in many parts of Kenya especially Mt. Kenya and Rift Valley regions, dairy farming has become popular and farmers are doing it professionally. Much more important is that an increasingly high number of young people have also ventured into dairy farming. We need to appreciate the turn of the tide where young people despised farming a few years ago yet they are the largest chunk of our population, but what now pulls them to agriculture, like dairy farming, is not being facilitated thrive at the farm level. It is unfortunate that the dairy industry regulator, the Kenya Dairy Board, refused to share pertinent information with the media on some of the farmers’ concerns, which goes to show the level of ignorance and belittling that it has for the farmers. No wonder then that what the farmer says does not matter but what the processor says matters a lot. One of the key issues that the farmers want addressed is the consistency in pricing. In the last five years for instance, the average farmgate payment for a litre of milk has swung between Sh32 and Sh42. What goes directly to the farmer is much less because of deductions by the dairy cooperative societies to cover their expenses. Most farmers interviewed by this newspaper said that the average production cost of a litre of milk is Sh27. Today, that is the same amount of money per litre that some farmers are being paid. Farmers believe they should be paid at least Sh45 per litre. Whichever the case, what they want much more urgent is a policy that stabilizes the price. This will enable them make better investment decisions because they can predict their income form the sale of milk for a specific period of time. There is no reason why bodies like Kenya Dairy Board and the Ministry of Agriculture should not immediately embark on formulating a policy that addresses such a need. It is only fair to the farmer. It is unfair business practice when the processor has the final say on how much to pay for the milk. As one farmer said, the processors can manage their margins buy either underpaying the farmer or increasing the price of the packaged milk. But the farmer is caged. Surely, this is not the way to run a sector that is expected to contribute to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s noble initiative of the Big Four agenda. The relevant government agencies must act now.

MT. KENYA STAR newspaper is published monthly by MT. KENYA STAR PUBLISHERS. Other Contacts: 0722214261 / 0722792810. Email: editor@mtkenyastar.com

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Quest for 24- hour economy to boost industrial growth, create jobs

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ne of the cardinal function of governments world over is to provide a conducive environment for commercial businesses to thrive. This in turn leads to employment creation, generation of wealth, tax and overall development of the people. Among the critical infrastructural facilities government provides to enable the above is electricity. Electricity is literally the heartbeat of an economy and just like the human body cannot function without the heart, so is an economy. Electricity generation, transmission and eventual distribution is capital intensive and it may not be feasible to fully provide it on commercial terms without having to raise the final cost to be borne by the consumer. To mitigate this, governments have had to shoulder some of the initial costs to ensure the final cost is bearable to the consumers and the economy. Indeed, this is even more crucial to businesses for them to be competitive both at the domestic and international markets. In the case of our country, the government has been active in providing resources to enhance generation especially from renewable sources such as geothermal. Similarly, transmission and distribution have also been funded to ensure power is evacuated and supplied across the country. The need to spur a 24–hour economy is gaining momentum as the country seeks to leverage on availability of stable and quality electricity. To encourage this drive, the introduction of “Time of Use” (ToU) tariff is expected to see commercial business, especially in the manufacturing sector, increase their operations during the night. Simply put, ‘Time of Use” tariff implies that manufacturers who increase their night production will benefit from much lower power tariff, leading to lower electricity bills hence improve the competitiveness of their products in the market. As a company, we started implementing this initiative in December last year. In January, 850 large power customers

DR. KEN TARUS benefitted from the ToU tariff compared to 804 customers in December. Because of the discounted tariff, these companies have realized a reduction in their power bills. Such savings are expected to grow as more companies come on board and extend their hours of operations. For Kenya Power, our power consumption in the night has increased thereby improving our overall sales. For instance, in the month of December an additional 21.8 GWh was consumed. With more companies expected to increase their night operations by taking advantage of the lower night tariff, we are looking forward to a robust growth of our top line. This will be net sales that we were not realizing before implementation of the ToU. During a recent visit by the Cabinet Minister for Energy, Hon. Charles Keter to Bamburi Cement factory in Athi River, we were informed

For Kenya Power, our power consumption in the night has increased thereby improving our overall sales. For instance, in the month of December an additional 21.8 GWh was consumed.

that the company will be taking up an additional load of 150 MW for their new processing plant. Things are bound to get better through creation of additional jobs, expected reduction in shelf prices for the goods hence a trickle down to the common mwananchi. Other companies which have adopted the ToU tariff have indicated that they intend to employ more people to manage the increase in the night shift. The aim of the new tariff is not to have customers shift their production to offpeak hours but it is designed to stimulate demand by providing an incentive to increase production. The discounted rates will therefore be applicable on energy consumed during defined off-peak hours above each customer’s daily consumption during such periods. As a condition, the benefiting customers will therefore be required to meet their monthly energy consumption threshold. Any units consumed over and above that threshold are billed at the discounted rate of 50% for energy consumed at off-peak hours. The threshold will be determined from the monthly energy consumption of the previous six consecutive months. This means that the customer will have to not only maintain normal production but increase it and then any production above what the customer carries out at off-peak benefits from the discount. Large commercial and industrial customers already operating at normal production capacity levels during both on-peak and off-peak hours will benefit from a 5% discount for their off-peak consumption. Whereas large power consumers will benefit from decreased production costs, the 50% reduction of tariffs during off-peak hours will also help in efficient utilisation of power generated during low energy demand periods. Ken Tarus, PhD, is the Managing Director & CEO of Kenya Power


MT KENYA STAR

ISSUE 39, 2018 I

NAKURU Roads projects eases farm to market journey JOSEPH MAINA

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armers in Nakuru County can expect a smoother flow of their produce to markets upon completion of the Boresha Barabara 2018 initiative, according to a senior official in the county government. The Boresha Barabara project, which Governor Lee Kinyanjui launched in January, aims to rehabilitate feeder roads in the county’s 55 wards. “The main aim of the project is to ensure that farmers can get their produce from the shamba to the market at the least cost,” said Dr Peter Kiplagat, the County Minister for Trade, Industry, Marketing and Tourism. “We have already covered more than half of the wards in the county, and we hope that before the end of the financial year we shall have covered the remainder.” As part of its wider plans to revamp its road infrastructure, the county works in partnership with the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) and the Kenya Urban Roads

Deputy Governor Erick Korir during the launch of Boresha Barara project. Authority (KURA) on some interchanges in Nakuru, which include the one at Kunste junction, another at the Njoro junction, and the one at Mau Summit. At the time of the interview in early March, the CEC said work on the Kungste junction interchange neared completion. “We are also working with KURRA on a number of roads and we are proposing a bypass, so that we can ease congestion within the (Nakuru) town.” Under the Boresha Barabara 2018 initiative, the county plans to rehabilitate

about 30KM per ward, for each of the county’s 55 wards. The works will entirely make use of county resources, comprising county staff and road construction equipment. “The county owns the equipment, so for us this is a very cheap and convenient way of doing the works,” the CEC said. “It is our employees doing the work, so in terms of costs it is very minimal for us.” In launching the project in January, Governor Kinyanjui said the project would enlist the services of county manpower as well as equipment,

some of which lay idle in the yards. “The county has earth movers, bulldozers, and tippers that are lying idle in yards. We want to make use of that machinery,” the governor said at the launch of the program in Waseges Ward in January. The project’s workforce comprises three teams, split to work in each of the county’s 11 sub counties. One team covers Molo, Kuresoi South and Kuresoi North, another team covers Njoro, Rongai, Nakuru East, and Nakuru West, while the third team covers Bahati, Subukia, Gilgil and Naivasha. Farmers in the county will benefit from the program’s multiplier effect, said the CEC. He further underscored the fact that agriculture forms the county’s mainstay. “There will be a multiplier effect. If the farmer spends less money in sending produce to the market, he or she retains more money which can be invested in other activities.” “Countrywide, the issue of rural roads has always been a challenge. What we want to do is improve on

the road network that we have. This is an area that receives heavy rainfall, so if you don’t at least have murram roads, it becomes a problem. Through this program of applying murram on the roads, it now becomes an all-weather road.” Besides benefits to agriculture, the county anticipates greater efficiency and ease of movement in other sectors upon completion of the project, with benefits in education, healthcare, education, security, and other sectors. “Road infrastructure is very critical for the development of any county and country,” said Governor Kinyanjui. “If a hospital is 10 kilometres and is inaccessible, patients may die or suffer because of a poor road. If a school cannot be accessed because of a bad road, academic standards go down. So, roads are very important, even for security.” According to Nakuru’s Annual Development Plan of 2015-2016, the county’s road infrastructure covers approximately 911.9 Km of bitumen surface, 1,110.8Km of gravel surface and 2,326.6Km of earth surface.

River Subukia almost drying up JOSEPH MAINA A caucus of Subukia professionals and business people wants action taken to avert further degradation of River Subukia due to human activities. The group, known as The Subukia Forum (TSF), decries the rapid deterioration of the river’s ecosystem in recent years. “We want to adopt that river, so that it is managed well and conserved,” said Maina Wanjohi, an environmental activist charged with steering the group’s mission. According to Wanjohi, TSF hopes to raise awareness among residents, as well as seek help in the river’s restoration from strategic partners who include Mother Earth, the County Government of Nakuru, and Laikipia University. “We are bringing in Laikipia University because they have the expertise in environmental issues,” Wanjohi told MT. KENYA STAR on phone. “We wrote a letter through the university’s Department of Public Affairs and Environmental Studies.” In a separate letter addressed to Laikipia University’s Vice Chancellor, seen by MT. KENYA STAR, the lobby requests the university to adopt the river as an institution and aid in its protection and management for growth and development. River Igwamiti, one of the tributar-

A section of the dry River Subukia ies, originates from within Laikipia University’s proximity, which partly explains the university’s stake in River Subukia’s wellbeing. “River Subukia is fed by several tributaries, one of them being (River) Igwamiti, which flows from Laikipia County, and agricultural practices

along its banks lead to pollution, a big threat to human, animal and plant life in Laikipia, Nakuru, and Baringo counties,” says the letter, dated January 2, 2016. Through the partnership with the university, TSF hopes to stay in touch with the river’s scientific information, ranging from the volume of water, purity, changes in pH, and anything to do with the river’s vegetation and animal life. The group raised the red flag in 2015 following reports of massive contamination of the river’s waters by local horticultural activity. Residents cited changes in the river’s color to a pale hue of red, especially in the waters of Mtoni Polisi, a small tributary which originates near Subukia town. “You can also not rule out the increase in population,” Wanjohi went on. “Subukia is an upcoming town, but where do people empty their effluent?” The river originates from the northern edges of the Aberdare ranges and cuts through the length of Subukia and Waseges wards of Subukia Constituency, where it supports extensive agricultural activities particularly tomato farming. It pours its waters into Lake Bogoria in Baringo County. Traditionally, Subukia earned fame as the source of arrowroots, thanks to the river’s abundant waters in earlier years. The reputation as Nakuru’s arrowroot

basket fizzled out close to two decades ago, Maina said, attributing it to the river’s dwindling regimes and destruction of the wider catchment area. Lately, the TSF expressed concerns over the escalation of trade in charcoal from the region, which members blame in part for the river’s deterioration. “Charcoal burning and illegal logging, particularly in the hills around Gitundaga area, contribute to the worsening state of this river,” said Wanjohi. Some residents have called for the gazettement of Gitundaga hills as a conservancy, as well as renewed efforts on reforestation to help restore the region’s rainfall patterns. Lower Subukia bore the brunt of the river’s dwindling volumes particularly in the drier months at the start of the year, raising concerns over the inequitable supply of water to residents of the region. With such prospects, the group raised concerns over possible influx of populations from lower parts of the region to Subukia town, a move that would strain the town’s limited resources. River Subukia’s diminishing volumes set the stage for strained relations among communities in the past, with livestock owners blaming crop farmers for allegedly diverting the river’s waters to their farms and thereby denying livestock of water. The region’s

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Professional matatu crew join Prestige Shuttle

Alice Wanjiku, right, a matatu ‘hostess’ attends to clients at the Prestige shuttle offices at the Nakuru bus terminus. KNA

Prestige Shuttle, matatu services provider, has taken the bold step of hiring young and educated women as matatu attendants at Nakuru bus terminus. The inaugural team of 14 female matatu attendants has been equipped with customer care skills unprecedented in the sector widely associated with indiscipline and poor public relations. The team dubbed Matatu Hostesses of Nakuru is keen on changing the face of the service that has been under grip of disrepute for years. Clad in phenomenal red dresses, the hostesses are determined to handle travellers thronging its booking offices at the Nakuru bus terminus with dignity and decorum with a view of transforming the country’s multi-billion sector. Alice Wanjiku, a graduate teacher is one of the 14 graduate hostesses striving to make the desired difference every day. She finds her job as a bus attendant exhilarating than teaching as it enables her to meet a variety of clientele and make them happy, comfortable and satisfied whenever they board any of the buses to their various destinations. “In the 21st century, more women are occupying traditionally male dominated spaces. It is not only in the quest for financial freedom but also a desire to offer services in a more professional manner”, she says. Her normal working day at the terminus begins at 4.30 every morning where she receives travellers, ensures their luggage is safely tucked in the buses` luggage compartment and all travellers adhere to safety rules before setting out. Before the bus departs the 23-year-old ‘hostess’ offers words of encouragement to passengers and prays for the journey. She says her job has helped her expand her social cycle contrary to popular belief that a female tout would be open to disdain from society. Wanjiku says her family and friends have respected her decision to take up a job associated with modest or little education. This she says has been a source of inspiration in a daunting task to make public transport user friendly. Regular travellers with the Prestige Shuttle Collins Ochieng and Tom Lemayan say they enjoy the services. Prestige Shuttle Director Stephen Muli says attempt to change service delivery in one of the most chaotic sectors in the country is overwhelming. He says he set out a model to elevate the sector to corporate level by selecting a team of dynamic professionals. As a pace setter, he wants other players in the sector to emulate the model of running the transport enterprise which is among leading revenue earners for the country. He says a professionally driven public transport service will earn its worth among millions of potential users’ every day. This he adds will be invaluable in scaling up revenue for the country while it transforms into a sustainable pathway to wealth and jobs creation. The sub sector employs at least 500,000 people annually countrywide.


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NYANDARUA Potato farmers boosted as Kimemia issues packaging alert MT. KENYA STAR

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he national government has been asked to immediately gazette the law that requires potatoes to be packaged in 50-kilogram bag to prevent farmers from incurring further losses to the brokers. Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia said this will be the only solution to complement the ongoing efforts of increasing production of potato and streamlining marketing with donors already pumping Sh125 million to aid farmers in the county. The current packaging of extended gunny bags results in farmers selling approximately 110kg of potatoes at a price of 50kg. Brokers then repackage the potatoes to realize unreasonable profits at the expense of the farmers. Despite concerns over implementation and enforcement of this law, the national government and specifically the ministry of agriculture has failed to act. But Governor Kimemia called for an immediate action. “I have urged the State Department for Agriculture to fast-track gazettement of agricultural produce packaging standards popularly known as the 50kg rule to streamline the market. We want to do away with the middle men who come to exploit the farmers in the county”, said Kimemia, in the presence of Richard Lesiyampe, the Agriculture Principal Secretary. He spoke when he jointly launched a Sh125 million, three-year project supported by the Government of Ireland which will work to stream line the

Governor Francis Kimemia signs the potato deal with Vincent O’Neill, the Irish Ambassador to Kenya. process of planting, growing, harvesting, marketing and processing of potatoes in the county. Governor Kimema also announced that the county government is working with the national government in establishing a Sh2 billion potato processing plant in the county. “This project aims at eliminating hunger and reducing poverty by increasing our farmers’ revenue by 30 percent. We produce close to 550,000 tonnes on approximately 37,000 hectares every year, with an estimated market value of Sh9 billion. This accounts

for over 30 per cent of potatoes produced nationally,” he said. The project is known as the Potato Sector Capacity Building Project. It will address issues on farmer training, market linkages, production and distribution of high quality potato seeds with a goal of improving yields and farmer revenue. The project is a public-private-partnership (PPP) that involves IPM Potato Group which is an Irish seed production company, International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) which is an NGO involved

in capacity building in agriculture sector and Kevian Kenya which is a private company involved in food processing. The project will be funded for 3-years by Irish Aid through the Embassy of Ireland and will benefit over 3,000 smallholder farmers in Nyandarua. Speaking during the signing at Ol Kalou Stadium, Ireland’s Minister for State for Public Works and Flood Relief Kevin Boxer said the deal aims to increase the scale and quality of potato production in Kenya. “We will also facilitate access to affordable certified potato seeds and link farmers with markets for their produce,” said Dr Vincent O’Neill, the Irish Ambassador to Kenya. Irish potato, the second most important crop in the country, is according to the Minsitry of Agriculture statistics. At least 800,000 smallholder farmers farm potatoes across the country, employing about 2.7 million people along its value chain, and contributing over Sh50 billion to the Kenyan economy, data shows. “With appropriate farming practices such as soil testing, seed cleaning, use of certified seeds, right fertiliser application regimen and mechanisation, you can easily harvest up to 40 tonnes of potatoes per acre,” said Dr Richard Lesiyampe, the Agriculture Principal Secretary. Nutritionwise, potatoes provide carbohydrates, more potassium than bananas, and energy. They also contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol, and supply vitamin B6, magnesium, fibre, antioxidants and nearly half of requisite daily value of Vitamin C in the body.

Nyandaru faults Nyahururu over resource allocation KNA

Residents of Nyandarua County have called on the Commission of Revenue Allocation (CRA) to consider the county as marginalized to boost its development through the Equalization Fund. In a forum that brought together national and county government leaders as well as the public to review the extent of marginalization of the county, the residents argued that all the resources meant for them were channeled towards development of its headquarters located in Nyahururu town, Laikipia County. “We are considered a water tower but none of the water projects are benefitting residents here despite the numerous pipes ferrying water to Nairobi and Nakuru Counties. We rank the poorest in the central region with highest illiteracy levels, poor housing, low education standards and wanting infrastructure,” said County Assembly Speaker Ndegwa Wahome. Wahome argued that all the services demanded by the citizenry were in Nyahururu where the county’s workforce; “were locked up in the foreign land as squatters awaiting an eviction notice”. “Why should we spend Sh442 million in putting up an assembly and more for a headquarter,

whereas our hospitals lack medicines and facilities for our people,” argued Wahome. The defunct local authorities used an assembly, now abandoned, in Nyahururu town. The agriculturally rich county, the residents said, had no cash crop as its potatoes and cabbages were highly perishable and brought in meagre revenue. The pyrethrum sector and Kenya Cooperatives Creameries have since died down. “Our forests have been looted and our roads spoilt in turn as only 224km of roads are tarmacked here. Our water is taken by others and yet we get nothing from this resource. Areas like Gachuha are land locked and the residents are disadvantaged because they can’t access the rest of the world,” said Governor Francis Kimemia. “Our poverty levels stand at 46.3 percent compared to the regions lowest at 21.8. Thirty percent of our children under five have stunted, while our people use firewood and cow dung for cooking,” noted Governor Kimemia. Kimemia said the marginalization of the county dated back to independence terming it a deliberate attempt to derail its development, adding; classifying the county to a marginalized area would go a long way in appeasing them. James Katule, a

Nyandarua County Minister for Finance Mary Mugwanja makes her views on the marginalization of Nyandarua. PHOTO KNA

director at the CRA, noted that the commission had scaled down its criteria of looking at marginalization such that each sub location is considered separately and ranked; as opposed to the previous generalization and perception of historical injustices. “The sub locations will be ranked from the poorest to richest as we are aware that there are pockets in the ‘rich’ counties that continue to suffer,” he added, noting that the next policy that will be passed by parliament will be used in the next five years.

The residents agreed that there was need for the county to benefit from the Equalization Fund for just five years, to upscale its infrastructure. “The sewerage systems at our only town, Ol Kalou, are wanting; our hospitals lack specialists, there are no single factories to process our produce and yet counties like Narok, which reaps three times our revenue from Masai Mara alone, benefit from the Equalization Fund,” cried John Waichungwa of Gichungo village.


Kilimo Pesa Issue 39, 2018

www.mtkenyastar.com

Njogu creates model small farm in Murang’a KAGE NJOROGE

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icholas Njogu has been declared the national youth agripreneur of the year in the country’s farmers’ award scheme competition, established to promote agribusiness concept as the new investment frontier. He emerged the winner, under the youth in agriculture category in recognition of his efforts to set up a profit making agri- enterprise. Njogu,34, has crafted a thriving agriculture project in a mixed farm which has become a source of motivation and inspiration to young people. The enterprise based on a 2.8 acres plot near Murang’a town, practice mixed farming activities which include dairy, food crop and horticulture crops. “I embarked on establishing this project five years ago with a vision to initiate a profitable agriculture-based enterprise which would produce goods and create employment, he details. With a little capital, saved from a book selling business, Njogu directed his energies to develop this farming project from July 2013. He recalls. A host of obstacles stood on the way for he has sketchy information on agriculture, he points. Njogu bought three ordinary cows from the locality, hoping they would contribute in setting up a dairy unit to supply milk to consumers in the nearby, Murang’a town. The farm is located about three kilometers from the town’s CBD along Kangema road. But the cows turned to be of poor genetic quality and could not respond to the desired milk production results. He discloses. Realiz-

ing the project was not picking up as expected, he sought for advice and was directed to seek for professional assistance the local agriculture office. “On tabling my request to the officers here, I was helped to change my view on farming and guided to embrace agribusiness if I planned to achieve better results,” he says. The agriculture officers from Kiharu office took him step by step

on the farm activities which are bearing fruits five years later. Today the number of cows has increased to 18 with 9 lactating currently producing over 130 litres daily. A litre is retailing at Sh50 farm gate price, he observes. Six cows are in calf and three heifers are about to mature. The farm has silage system which stores cattle feeds sourced during the time of plenty rain.

To ensure farming projects are conducted throughout the year, a drip irrigation has been installed. A water supply back up pan reservoir with a capacity to hold 270,000 litres has been built which gets water pumped from a stream neighboring the farm. Animal feeds are prepared using chopping machines, rolled and stored in the silage for future use. In recent seasons, the project has

earned income from sales of indigenous vegetables which include terere (amaranth), managu, black night shade, and Muhika na ihu and sukuma wiki among others. He reveals some good revenue is generated from sales of tonnes of green maize, tomatoes, water melons, and courgettes which found demand high in the market this year. The project has been able to create direct employment for four people including Njogu and indirect jobs for more than ten casual workers. Kiharu sub county irrigation officer Stephen Waithaka, observes Njogu’s enterprises has emerged a model of a small holder profitable agribusiness. The officer notes irrigation driven agriculture empowers the farmers to control, manage their time table, plant crops when they plan and get to the market when demand is high. He says the farm is being used by agricultural extension officers as a training ground for the youth and group of farmers planning to engage in business-oriented agriculture. Agribusiness officer James Kariuki who drafted the concept says the farm has come on top for getting things right from the beginning. Kariuki points that with professional input, Njogu was able to initiate a process which has resulted in breeding high quality dairy cows over the period. The cows are mainly Ayrshire and cross breeds of Frisian breed on the farm from the ordinary stock. The farm had won in several competitions because of better soil erosion management, technology application, and conservation tillage and irrigated agriculture system which does not cause environmental damage and soil disruption. The project’s business attitude and crop rotation pattern geared to tackle food insecurity issues earned marks for the farm during the competition. Farm operations supervisor Simon Gaithori says welfare of the staff is well taken care of and receives their wages in time. The farm has a soft credit system for the workers in time of need, he reveals. Gaithori says that the use of technology in preparing cattle feeds has made labour easy and manageable for the farm workers. Some of the challenges include substandard and poor quality commercial feeds, fluctuating prices of farm produce, pests and diseases control and lack of adequate financial resources to move the project forward.


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Reverse crop calendar makes Njenga more money MT. KENYA STAR REPORT

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Patrick Njenga harvests Irish potatoes at his Kimende farm.

iming of planting season and establishing market networks are helping a Kiambu County farmer in selling his produce with little competition to earn profits. Patrick Njenga, who has for more than 10 years specialised in short season vegetable and Irish potato production, said going against other farmer’s growing calendar and keeping market contacts have helped his agribusiness to remain profitable. “I started with snow-peas. A friend, who was in the same agribusiness showed me a well paying market. The next season I grew the same crop, it was easy to sell. A diversification to Irish potatoes and other vegetables was a challenge at first, but I quickly engaged mass buyers,” he said. The cost of most products drops when the market is flooded. An ex-

ample is the onion price which reduces by almost half after the entry of the produce from Tanzania. The production cost in Tanzania is said to be relatively low. This disadvantages the Kenyan farmer as the market rushes for the cheap onion from Tanzania. But Njenga, who has just finished harvesting Irish potatoes from part of his three quarter acre, said piece meal selling at local markets also leads to losses. It is difficult to sell at standard prices to the various buyers. For instance, an 18kg bucket of Irish potatoes costing Sh600 in the markets can fetch as low as Sh400. “I prefer the wholesale buyers because they pay a standard price of about Sh2,500 for every sack of 110kg. Selling the same in small quantities gives Sh1,600 or at most Sh1,800,” he said. The farmer rotates the potatoes with cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. But he is always keen on produc-

ing each of the crops when they are on demand. As a marketing strategy, Ngenga marks out a planting plan of these short season crops at the beginning of every year. His timetable works in reverse to that of other farmers. He plants thrice per year. If in January other farmers are growing carrots for April harvest, he goes for cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower. The July season will have another crop, for example Irish potatoes for August harvest when prices are high due to low supply. The cold climate of Kimende, which is as a result of the nearby Aberdare Ranges, is one of the main challenges he struggles with in his production. “Application of anti-frost chemicals at an early stage wades off scorching losses. I apply the chemical ahead of frost falling. Even in severe falls, the impact is little because of the advance triggered resistance,” he said. The all-yearround farming is supported by a

borehole he dug soon after leaving formal employment in the then Ministry of Public Works, Nairobi, about 10 years ago. “I have constant water source. This helps me in irrigation during dry seasons. To penetrate and hold the market requires constant flow of the produce and having the items when other suppliers do not have,” he said. Besides this bought piece of land the farmer also grows more of the vegetables in the nearby one acre piece of land, which he inherited from his father. Njenga drew his calendar after studying the market trends of agroproducts in Nairobi as well as production regions like Kinangop. He has a markets repository contact that helps him in projecting the next big crop in the market, which he has to avoid and produce the abandoned one. Njenga can be reached on: 0722277510

How good advice helped farmers thrive MT. KENYA STAR REPORT KIRINYAGA THE HARVEST - AGRA Dotted across villages in the Kirinyaga County are model farms comprising of healthy stands of maize, banana, pumpkin and other crops, carrying the promise of bountiful harvests. These farms are run by smallholder farmers who have benefitted from access to productivity-enhancing improved seed and other planting materials, as well as fertilizer and agronomic advice. They are a stark contrast to some neighboring farms, where the stands of the maize crop are dry and withered, with small or no ears (cobs). As such, they stand out as ‘living’ advertisements of the benefits of adopting this approach. Many of these farmers confirm that their peers have enquired about the source of the planting materials, and they have been directed to suppliers who are based right in their localities. These suppliers, known as Villagebased Advisors or VBAs in these communities, are providing a muchneeded link in the farm inputs value chain, vastly reducing distances farmers have to travel to buy these inputs. In the past, long distances to markets (and associated transport costs) have been identified as a major obstacle to access and adoption of improved farm inputs by Africa’s smallholders farmers. The VBA approach has been piloted by Farm Inputs Promotions (FIPS)-Africa, a non-profit set up to demonstrate and deploy new farming technologies. Through a combination of village-level, on-farm demonstrations and promotion of small seed and fertilizer test packs, FIPS-Africa encourages farmers to try out new crop productivity approaches. After a successful first season, farmers are convinced of the benefits and

AGRA officials view harvest from farms of some of the farmers who have benefited from extension services. purchase commercial size packs of these inputs themselves. FIPS-Africa has set up a number of partnerships with domestic commercial seed and fertilizer companies, who provide these small packs at their own cost. Susan Muthoni, a maize farmer, is very happy with the performance of her crop this year. She planted a new variety – WH 403 – produced and marketed by Western Seed Company. This is the second time she is planting this variety and she likes it for its early maturity, high yields and the fact that she can feed the maize leaves to her livestock, even as she waits for the ears to mature fully. This is because the variety’s leaves remain green even as it matures, whereas those of other varieties dry up. Last season she obtained 8 (90-kilo)

bags from her small parcel of land, and expects to get the same this year, despite the patchy rainfall that the area receives. This harvest is four times greater than what she previously got after planting farm-saved seed or that of other unimproved crop varieties. This represents an increase from 0.75 tons per ha to 3 tons per ha. Average maize yields in sub-Saharan Africa are less than 1 ton per ha, making millions of smallholders net food buyers in the period between each harvest, the ‘hungry season’. Muthoni first planted, on a trial basis, three small packs of 25 kernels each of the WH 403 on a small portion of her farm after being convinced to try them out by Hellen Nyaga, her area VBA. With nothing to lose, she planted the maize

right before the main rainy season, and also followed Nyaga’s advice on how to plant the seed in rows, measuring the spaces between each seed with a short string provided by FIPS as part of the starter pack. She also bought a small pack of fertilizer, which she applied as she was advised by the VBA. This harvest means that Muthoni will have more than enough food for her family for the rest of the year. She plans to sell the extra maize and use the money to buy goats which she will rear and later sell at a profit. Her excitement is palpable, and this optimism is replicated across the locality as thousands of farmers like Muthoni experience for themselves the benefits of adopting improved crop varieties, using small amounts of fertilizer and planting their crops in rows. Through this approach farmers are lifting themselves out of poverty, and proving that smallholder agriculture does not have to be a risky and worthless venture. For some, this is the first time that they have seen such healthy and prolific maize crops; having planted only farmsaved seed all their lives. Farmers like Millicent Wanja. “Every day I get out of my house to look at this maize, and I feel happy and fortunate because I will have enough to eat,” she confirms. “I advise my neighbors to go to Gichobi to buy the seed too. Next season I want to plant more… I will buy two (2kilo) bags of seed.” She refers to Charles Gichobi, her local VBA. Wanja has planted KH 500-43A, a new drought-tolerant maize variety developed through joint efforts by AGRA, the national research agency – Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) – and global maize research organization, the International Maize and Wheat

Improvement Center (CIMMYT). KH 500-43A is marketed by Dryland Seed Company and other national seed producers. Varieties like WH 403 and KH 500-43A are giving smallholder farmers a lifeline in the fight against climate change-induced erratic rainfall and high temperatures which often result in total crop losses for farmers who do not use seed of ‘climate-ready’ varieties such as these. “FIPS is encouraged by these initial results, and direct improvements to smallholder farmers’ lives and circumstances,” says Paul Seward, FIPSAfrica Director and Founder. “Once they see how the trial maize crop works, farmers are going out and buying commercial-size seed packs, usually two or four kilos. This is good for our VBAs, and our seed company partners who now have new customers.” Initially, commercial seed and fertilizer companies were skeptical that this approach would work but over time they have been convinced by the new demand created from the small (50 gm) seed and 1-kilo fertilizer packs. FIPS-Africa is working to stimulate demand for quality seed and fertilizer, and providing crucial “last mile” access to farmers in remote areas, whom commercial seed and fertilizer companies would otherwise find hard to reach. On its part, AGRA is improving the capacity of hundreds of local seed companies like Western Seed and Dryland Seed, to build up their capacity to scale up production of quality seed that is well-adapted to localized smallholder farmers’ agro-ecologies and meets local taste preferences. Initiatives such as these hold great promise for transforming entire rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa into thriving breadbaskets, but need crucial investments and interest from both public and private partners.


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Persimmon brings cashflow to Nyeri farmer EUTYCAS MUCHIRI In 2016, Mary Njeri Ndirangu travelled to Uganda for a farmers’ field exhibition but upon her return to Kenya, she came back with seeds of an exotic plant referred to here as persimmon. Though she was seeing the plant for the first time, Njeri was determined to give it a try back home. The 55-year-old woman bought six tablespoonful of the seeds worth Sh3,000 from a Ugandan exhibitor and out of curiosity planted the seeds and took care of them as per instructions from the seller. But the seeds did not disappoint. She made a harvest worth Sh15,000. Since the fruit was little known back home, the famer whose farm is near Ihithe Shopping Centre in Tetu Sub-county, Nyeri County, struck a deal with the Uganda contact. She was to be sending the mature fruits to him and he would intern send money to her. He sold the fruits in Uganda. “But after pocketing the Sh15,000, I realised that growing of the fruits could be lucrative and ordered for more seeds with the whole amount,” she recalls. To maximise her earnings, she decided to diversify and propagat-

ed the plant selling the seedlings to fellow Kenyans as well. Currently, the farmer has over 5000 seedlings. She sells a single seedling at Sh300 and a kilo of persimmon fruits at Sh1700 locally though she used to sell the fruits to the Ugandan at Sh2,500 a kilo. About 8 to 10 fruits can make a kilo depending on their sizes. But she later opted out of the informal agreement with the Ugandan after six months and decided to look for market for the delicious

fruit locally. “I could pack the fruits well after harvesting and send them to Uganda through courier services and in six months I had pocketed KSh0.4 million from the deal,” she explains. “But I stopped after my conscious told me severally that it was not right for me to export the fruits while my fellow Kenyans needed to benefit from their nutritional benefits as well,” she notes. Mary says her customers are distributed all over the country

and mostly sells the seedlings during farmers field exhibitions and on a good day, she can sell seedlings of up to Sh0.5 million. She has been to Kisumu, Mombasa in Western parts of the country and around Mt. Kenya region among others where she has since sold fruits worth millions. “During last year’s Nairobi International Trade Fair, I sold 1500 seedlings at Sh300 each pocketing Sh0.45 million in the seven day event,” she says. Persimmon plant bear fruits only three months after planting and have a lifespan of five years. To grow the plant, Njeri advises farmers to dig a hole of about 1.5 by 1.5 feet. Add a bucket of well decomposed compost or farmyard manure properly mixed with top fertile top earth before returning the mixture into the hole. Spacing should be about 1.5 feet to 1.5 feet. The plant grows to a height of about two feet. However for her, she does not add manure or use any chemical so as to ensure her fruits are purely organic. “A single plant can bear 25 to 30 fruits. A fruit goes for Sh100 in the market which means a single plant is capable of making Sh2,500 to 3000,” she says.

Currently, the farmer has 500 persimmon plants in her farm and she is upbeat that upon maturity, she will make about KSh1million from the harvest. The fruit can be cooked like tomato, eaten raw, blended or used in preparation of salad. Before turning into horticulture and propagation of seedlings in her nursery, Njeri had worked with the green Belt Movement founded by the late Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai for seven years. That is where she got the wealth of experience in tree and fruit tree propagation and husbandry. To ensure she does everything right, she works closely with officials from the ministry of Agriculture where she benefits from extension services and technical advice on horticulture farming. Through the proceeds, she has been able to invest in the stock market, acquired a plot in Nakuru, built a house for her family and she is currently paying school fees for her son who is doing a degree in the university. She mostly deals with the emerging exotic plants with her fruit tree seedling nursery stocked with the pepino melon, kiwi, pomegranate (Punica granatum) and white sapote among others.

New fodder cuts production cost of milk MT. KENYA STAR REPORT NAKURU

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armers using the new fodder formulation from Farmpro can double production besides cutting the production cost of one litre of milk by more than Sh5. Whilst the production cost of one litre of milk in Kenya is about Sh24, other counties like Meru have reported expenses of up to Sh30 in the recent past. On average, the leading milk processors in the country pay farmer Sh28 per litre through cooperatives. But with the fodder from the Nakuru based Farmpro agribusiness solutions, it costs a farmer at least Sh17 in the production of one litre of milk. “The fodder has been formulated to give adequate minerals required in milk production. If the farmer is to make agribusiness sustainable, less and cheap inputs have to be consumed to give the best output,” Farmpro co-founder Maina Muchai said. Random tests in the past have shown use of substandard ingredients, with even sawdust being used in the production of animal feeds by crooked traders. The Farmpro fodder, which has been tested by Egerton University and approved by other relevant authorities, has proven to be an efficient feed for dairy cattle for more than 60 farmers. Sor-

Dairy cows at the Nakuru ASK Show last year. ghum and potato vines are some of the more than five ingredients used in the formulation of the animal feed at Egerton University. The total mix ration of the fodder contains 18 per cent crude proteins. Proteins are a major component in high milk production. Muchai said the intention of the fodder making project is to increase the

profit margin for the farmers while also boosting the quality of the produce when sold to specific markets- which pays more based on the later parameter. With such fodder, a farmer remains with at least Sh11 after selling the milk at Sh28 to processors like Kenya Cooperative Creameries. According to the Farmpro dairy cows’ records, milk letdown

has increased by up to two times. One Friesian, out of the seven dairy cows has gradually increased milk yield from 12 litres to 25 litres per day. An Ayrshire breed in the farm-which is located at Lanet in the outskirts of Nakuru- is also producing 18 litres, from 12 litres. “One may be surprised that the Egerton University analysis of the butter

fat content in the milk of the two breeds is dismal. That means the quality of the quality and quantity of the two breeds can be increased if all resources are constant,” another Farmpro co-founder Kevin Maingi said. A cow consumes 25kg of the fodder per day. The more than 60 farmers in Nakuru County, who are member of the Farmpro, are buying the feed at Sh17 per kilo. It costs non-members Sh25 per kilo. Besides availing fodder through the year, Muchai said, the project is also helping farmers have a constant source of income. “The essence of being in agribusiness is to make profits. And profits are realised if one has a constant source of income. With the packaging and sealing of the fodder, even with five dairy cattle a farmer can plan the feeding programme through the year without worries of drought,” he said. A cow is a good ‘employer’ who is fed in the morning, and repay in the evening, Muchais added. Muchai, Maingi and Paul Ayieko are university graduates, who left formal employment to venture into agribusiness. Muchai is an information technologist, while Maingi is a mathematician. Ayeiko is an economist. Maingi can be reached on: 0721966448


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Meet the organic onion farmer MT. KENYA STAR REPORT NYERI

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etworking with urban traders has helped a Nyeri County agripreneur penetrate the emerging organic onion market. Jonathan Jomo supplies at least 300kg of onions per week to specific food outlets and hotels looking for organic produce in Nairobi. Jomo is taking advantage of the emerging ‘do not eat chemicals’ market, which is solely sourcing farm products raised without the use of synthetic inputs such as inorganic fertilisers, pesticides, insecticides, among other. In gripping and expanding the market, the farmer who started with onions, is expanding into tomatoes, carrots, beetroots, among others to make himself a ‘one-stopshop’ organic produce distributor. “Buyers want a whole meal in one. If am supplying then with organic onions, they expect same to be for tomatoes, capsicum, cucumber, and many others. It is not possible for one to use organically produced onions and synthetic tomatoes. I am adjusting to be that one-stop- organic source for them,” he said. Other than direct sales, where he makes, more, other dealers offer the Kieni farmer between Sh40 and Sh80 per kilo. The variation depends on the supply of the synthetically produced onions. “The prices of onions in Kenya fall after those from Tanzania enter the market. That is why local farmers suffer most. But am not so worried because of the steady market I get from the suppliers, who buy weekly,” he said. Although the price is not appealing, Plantmate bio-Organic fertiliser from Wanda Organic has helped him make indirect profits from each of the onions. According to Wanda Organic, Plantmate is a product from animal and plant waste mix. The mixture is fermented by bio-plus catalysts drawn from more than 20 benefi-

cial micro-organisms. When he used inorganic fertilisers like DAP, CAN and NPK, he never got individual onions weighing more than 250g. But with the Plantmate, Jomo has been harvesting onions of up to 500g each from June-July 2016. At most, he requires three onions to make one kilogramme. From the stock he harvested at the beginning of December, 2016, he got four tonnes from a quarter of an acre. That was more than four times more yields rise from 700kg to 900kg previous harvests. His motivation into organic farming was the demand from leading stores like Nakumatt Supermarket, which had set aside sections for organic products, but the inconsistent supply slowed the project. “I am staggering my transplanting schedule to ensure my customers have a continuous supply of the produce,” Jomo said. He has onion seedlings for transplanting in January, and seeds for February and March. This programme, he says, will help him in commanding the market, and avoid shocks, which can lead to reversion to synthetic alternatives. Curving a market niche requires one to plan on how to feed it though the year. It is not only for profits for the outlets but also for the farmer who will have continuous income. He has piped water and a dam to support the agribusiness through the year. After long rains, the dam is filled with water from the farm and the nearby roads. Upon exhaustion, he reverts to the Nyeri County water. “The 70,000 water capacity mindam has saved me a lot in my agribusiness. After running out of water, I incur about Sh6,000 in irrigation water bills per month. But the water is usually enough to take me through a growing season,” Jomo said. Kieni is a partly semi-arid. It receives less than 700mm of rain annually. Therefore, crop farming without water for irrigation is unsustainable. Jomo can be reached on: 0720468201

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KILIMO COMMENTARY

Data: the fertilizer that will feed Africa’s agricultural transformation

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verywhere we look, technology is being touted as the enabler of a new era of African agricultural prosperity. The exciting world of possibilities offered by blockchain, IoT, machine learning and the like has made companies, governments and policy-makers sit up and take notice of how such technologies can be applied to foster greater innovation, efficiency and economic and social progress. But how should we as a continent approach the adoption of these technologies across the agricultural value chain - a process we commonly refer to as digital transformation - especially in an industry that the World Bank estimates employs twothirds of the continent’s workforce and produce a third of its total economic value also referred to as gross domestic product (GDP)? I would argue that quality data is the single most important building block toward establishing a smart agricultural sector for Africa. Data feeds digital transformation in agriculture The African agricultural sector is dominated by smallholder farmers. According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development, there are an estimated 500 million smallholder farmers in Africa and South-East Asia, providing as much as 80percent of the food consumed in these regions and supporting up to two billion people financially. Many of the difficulties these smallholder farmers experience are directly or indirectly related to the availability of quality information and data mainly because of infrastructure. Such data includes information about buyers and exporters; information about inputs, such as soil types, growing best-practice, weather, and pest control; information about markets, such as pricing and local, regional or global demand; traceability information related to food safety and certification to increase the market value of goods produced; information regarding storage and logistics; and access to financial services in the form of micro-loans or insurance. In many instances, the lack of information has a direct impact on African smallholder farmers’ outputs and, by effect, livelihoods. Only 5percent of cultivated land in Africa, for example, makes use of irrigation, compared to 38percent in Asia, leading to lower yields and limiting their income-earning ability. And while agricultural performance has improved over the past decade, it is not yet sufficient to meet the demands of a population that is expected to grow by 1.3 billion people in Africa alone by 2050. A technological intervention is needed. Reimagining Africa’s agricultural sector According to a 2017 report by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the continent’s food system requires an agricultural transformation that is focused on more than just agricultural production and encompasses the entire food system. The report further points to promoting the growth of smallholder farms and SMEs involved in Africa’s food systems, and providing

Jonathan Jomo grows organic onions

One view to a smart agricultural sector involves establishing a sustainable and inclusive agricultural model that promotes equitable value distribution across the value chain

GILBERT SAGGIA assistance to smallholder farmers that commercialises viable farm business prospects and capabilities. One view to a smart agricultural sector involves establishing a sustainable and inclusive agricultural model that promotes equitable value distribution across the value chain; creates jobs; allows the increase of productivity and improvement of logistics and storage capacities while remaining cost-effective and respectful of the environment; and implementing and monitoring effective and efficient public policies. We believe that the bedrock of such a model is the capturing in real time of all relevant data produced by each of the different stakeholders within the agricultural value chain, so that their decisions are as rational and efficient as possible. Here, technology has a clear role to play. A technology platform designed for smallholder farmers. In 2009, SAP embarked on the development of a solution that would enable better management of smallholder farms by tracking and collecting data related to farms, cultivated plots (via GPS coordinates), crops, farmers, and farm gate selling processes. A prototype of this solution was developed in cooperation with the GIZ, a partner of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and piloted in 9 African countries reaching more than 100 000 small-scale producers. Called SAP Rural Sourcing Management, the solution is operated in the SAP Cloud Platform and delivered as Software-as-a-Service to farmers who access it via their mobile phones, negating the need for costly technology infrastructure investment. Rural Sourcing Management is used by the world’s largest chocolate producer, Barry Callebaut, and the Kalangala Palm Oil Grower’s Trust in Uganda, where 80percent of the population is involved in agriculture. The Rural Sourcing Management solution is helping the KOPGT grow and expand, improve efficiency, and keep all major players in the value chain connected digitally. This is shining a path toward prosperity in Uganda and supporting the government in its aspirations of moving its citizens to a middle-income status by 2040. We believe that by providing African smallholder farmers with technology tools designed to improve their day-to-day farming operations, we are creating an ecosystem of benefits across the agricultural value chain that will take the continent one step closer toward realising a brighter and more food-secure future for generations to come. Dr Gilbert Saggia is the Managing Director for East Africa at SAP Africa.


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Nyeri couple maximize earnings by grafting tree tomato EUTYCAS MUCHIRI NYERI

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hen George Wang’ombe Ndirangu, 40, and his wife Elizabeth Wang’ombe first ventured in tree tomato farming, they faced a myriad of challenges that almost killed their morale. Challenges ranged from regular attacks by nematodes and fusarium and pests such as white flies and aphids on their fruits. These together with the problems of having to regularly water and mulch their crop during dry spells led to poor yield, increased labour and high production cost which greatly lowered their profits. But today, the problems are behind them. This is after the realization by the couple from Kangaita Villaga in Tetu Sub-county, Nyeri County, that they could graft their fruit trees with a more resistant common shrub known as bitter leaf. The shrub is also known as Muthakwa in Kikuyu, while its botanical name is Vernonia amygdalina. Today, the couple’s grafted seedlings have become popular among farmers from within and outside the county. Several years later, they smile all the way to the bank making an average of Sh300,000 per month from the sale of the grafted tree tomato seedlings alone in a nursery occupying less than a quarter acre. On average, they sell over 3000 grafted tree tomato seedlings in a month. Their customers are from all over the country and sell a single seedling of the grafted tree for Sh100 per seedling while the ungrafted goes for only Sh50. They have mainly stocked two varieties of tree tomato seedlings in the nursery which are Oratia red and Rothamer Red giant and currently have over 30,000 tree tomato seedlings in their nursery. Their venture took a turn for the better in 2009 after a Senegalese paid them a visit at their farm and saw what they were going through and sold them the grafting idea. “The Senegalese advised us to be grafting the ordinary tree tomato seedlings with a particular variety of the shrub as the two are from the same family,” notes 36-year-old Elizabeth. According to Elizabeth, the variety bears fruits palatable to both human beings and birds while the fruits are also consumed by some Senegalese and people elsewhere in West Africa. The plant has also been used to

Elizabeth Wang’ombe shows a mature healthy tree tomatoes. improve tree tomato production through grafting in countries like Senegal and other West African countries while the shrub’s leaves are used as vegetables and for medicinal purposes. Other than increasing yields, grafting also prolongs the tree’s lifespan from five to twelve productive years. Elizabeth says: “Tree tomato ordinarily lacks a taproot but instead has fibrous shallow roots while the bitter leaf shrub has a tap root that goes deeper into the soil.” “Therefore when grafted with the bitter leaf providing the root stalk and tree tomato the scion, the result is a fruit tree with a tap root which enables it absorb more water and nutrients deeper into the soil,” she expounds. The tree resulting from the two tree species is also firm and strong making it resistant to destruction by strong wind or run-

The fruit is also sweeter than its ungrafted counterpart and ideal for those keen on commercializing tree tomato farming as the fruit’s long shelf life also makes it ideal for export.

ning rain water. It is resistant to drought and diseases and has enhanced production as opposed to the ordinary tree tomato plant which requires regular watering and mulching. “The tree also bears bigger fruits with a longer shelf life than the ordinary plant and can do well in various climatic conditions as it is hardened,” she notes. The fruit is also sweeter than its ungrafted counterpart and ideal for those keen on commercializing tree tomato farming as the fruit’s long shelf life also makes it ideal for export. Leaves are also hardened and as such resistant to attack by white flies and aphids. It does not shed leaves during dry spells while the stalk is not prone to attack by nematodes and fusarium. The couple also sell fruits fetching them between Sh70 to 130 a kilo in the market depending on the season. One needs about six to eight of the fruits to attain a kilo. Under proper management, a single grafted plant, which produces fruits throughout the year, can produce at least 10 kilos of fruits a month which translates to 120 kilos in a year. This means if sold at Sh70 a kilo, on the lower side, a farmer is capable of making Sh8,400 per tree per year. Assuming that a farmer plants 100 tree tomato plants and harvests a minimum of 10 kilos per tree in a month and sold at a mini-

mum of Sh70 a kilo, one is capable of fetching a clean Sh70,000 in a month. During planting, she advises, a farmer should dig a hole of about 1.5 by 1.5 feet; apply a spade of well decomposed compost or farmyard manure and fertilizer properly mixed with top soil and put into the hole before planting. With good care, the fruit tree flowers in three to four months after planting and can start being harvested in the sixth or seventh month depending on the climatic conditions of the region. Through the project, they have managed to build a house, buy six dairy cows and built a good housing structure for their livestock, started a poultry project and bought two plots and a piece of land in Laikipia. They also acquired a vehicle which they use to offer free transport to their customers who buy seedlings in bulk. “We also use the proceeds to pay school fees for our three children with one in secondary school and two in private primary school,” she notes. The family has also managed to create employment for over a dozen women who work for six days a week with each one of them earning Sh300 per day for the last four years. “Whenever we sell seedlings to a farmer, we follow up on their progress for three months until they start flowering and replace any that dries up within this period at no cost,” she adds.

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Rabbit farmers needed MT. KENYA STAR REPORT KIAMBU One agribusiness organization is looking to contacting more than 10,000 famers, who will be supplying it with rabbits for meat export. In the contracting process, farmers enter an agreement with the Rabbit Millionaires Project to buy pregnant rabbits, and they sell back the bunnies when they are four months old. Rabbits rearing is emerging as the option to joblessness. But farmers are facing challenges in accessing markets, with few delivering their rabbits to supermarkets like Tuskys and major hotels, which make sausages and/or selling it as meat. James Mwangi, an official of the organisation, said the group targets to than 50,000 kilos of rabbit meat for export in the next few months. A four kilogramme rabbit will be bought at Sh2,000. “The organisation has been doing research and locating possible markets for sale of rabbit meat on the international fronts. One of the identified regions is France. The market is promising and for that reason more farmers have to be brought on board for constant supply of quality meat that meets the international standards,” Mwangi said. Farmers are required to buy already bred rabbits, with each costing Sh5,000. One needs to buy a minimum of 12 rabbits and after four to five months, deliver bunnies for marketing. Four months old rabbits are about four kilos before slaughtering. In supporting quality production, experts would visit farmer from time to time to give them more tips. Farmers supplying rabbits to supermarkets and other large-scale consumers and restaurants, the cost per kilo ranges from Sh700 to Sh1,000. Justin Magiri, a Mombasa County farmer who sells rabbit to highend hotels at the coastal strip, says he spends Sh450 to raise a rabbit to maturity- five months. Magiri depends on commercial feeds. He sells the rabbits at Sh700 to earn at least Sh250 profit. Although the price per kilo is lower in selling to the millionaire group, the advantage is the collective market, which means one can deliver as many rabbits as possible for profitability. Rural farmers can also substitute the commercial feeds with local greens to cut on expenditure. Rabbit meat is gaining fame as more people turn to lean meat as a result of surging lifestyle diseases. It is approximated that rabbit meat has more proteins than chicken and beef, besides large deposits of iron, phosphorus, potassium, among other elements. Other farmers like Brian Otwori, of Nyamira County are harvesting urine for packaging and selling as a folia fertiliser in horticultural production. Contact: Mwangi can be reached on 0707728383.

Rabbit Millionaire Project breeder James Mwangi holds one of his farm rabbit. He is contracting farmers to supply. PHOTO LABAN ROBERT


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Mwangi earns from Guatemala grass farming The high yielding and persistent Guatemala grass needs rich soil for optimal growth. The grass also remains leafy for a long time.

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nlike many farmers in Mukurwe-ini, Nyeri County, who plant maize, beans and potatoes for subsistence and commercial purposes, a farmer from Tambaya has taken a different approach. Evans Muugu Mwangi, 62, instead considers planting Guatemala grass. The former police officer specializes in the sale of Guatemala grass propagation materials which he has planted in a small portion of his land. Muugu ventured in Guatemala grass farming accidentally after he was given eight root splits of the grass by a neighbour 12 years ago. Root splits are uprooted parts of a plant. The perennial grass is established by planting stem cuttings or rooted culms (root splits). Out of curiosity, the farmer multiplied the crop through propagation to about a quarter of an acre. This is when he started earning dividends from his efforts. At the time, the grass was rare in the area and therefore very new to him and many other farmers from the region. “I realized that I could make some money from the grass after noticing the interest the grass drew amongst local residents. I took some planting materials to a farmers’ exhibition and made good money from them,” says the farmer. He sells a bundle of six root splits at Sh100 and says on a good day, he earns a clean Sh50,000 or more from the materials. However, Muugu says he makes between Sh20,000 andSh30,000 during normal county farmers field exhibitions. Most of his customers are area farmers but has also managed to travel to exhibitions in other places other than

Evans Muugu Mwangi shows Guatemala grass that is ready for harvesting. Nyeri such as Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, TransNzoia, Nairobi, Machakos and Kirinyaga counties among others. “A case in point is when I attended Nairobi International Trade Fair in 2010 and sold grass worth Sh50,000 during the two-day event,” notes the farmer. Some of his customers from various parts of the country at times place orders through phone calls which he sends through courier services. Looking back, the farmer says he does not regret having ventured in the enterprise. It has enabled him pay school fees for one of his daughters throughout her secondary schools education entirely from the grass earnings. He is glad that he is still paying college fees for the daughter who is pursuing a Diploma in building technology at Kabete Technical Training Institute using the proceeds. The farmer is also educating another of his

children in secondary school and also uses the grass to feed his four dairy cows. Other projects include installation of electricity at his home and catering for other basic needs at his home using the money. “The grass can be fed to cows, goats, sheep and rabbits among other domestic animals. The grass’ leaves are glabrous or sparsely hairy and therefore less irritating to farmers during harvesting,” he observes. Other than earning money from the grass, Muugu, who neighbours Gikira River, also uses the grass for conservation purposes by planting it in sloppy parts of his land. According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Guatemala grass is more effective at controlling soil erosion when combined with companion trees such as Sesbania, Grevillea or Desmodium. It is also used for hedges or for contour stripping of crops planted on steep slopes. “Guatemala grass is a good soil binder and organic matter builder. In the highlands of East and Central Africa, it is used to combat soil erosion and increase the stability of contour bunds,” notes FAO. Guatemala grass is cultivated primarily for fodder in cut-and-carry systems. It can also be used to make silage. However, when harvested for direct feeding in cut-andcarry method, fresh grass should be left to wilt for about 12 hours under shade before being chopped and fed to animals. “It also has

no waste like in ordinary napier grass, grows quickly, is more vegetative and does not need a lot of care as during growth it covers the ground suppressing weeds, therefore, making weeding in the field under the grass unnecessary,” explains the farmer. The high yielding and persistent Guatemala grass needs rich soil for optimal growth. The grass also remains leafy for a long time. For those who would like to plant it, the farmer advises them to dig a hole of about one by one and a half feet, add a spade of manure properly mixed with soil and plant a single root split in each hole. A spoonful of Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertilizer should be added after sometime for strengthening of the root system and subsequently quick maturity. It is harvested after attaining the height of between 4 and 4.5 feet. Optimum production is reached four to six months after planting with four months between harvests. When harvesting, it should not be cut closer than 10 centimeters from the ground. The stems can grow up to 3.5 to 4.5 metres high and up to 1 to 5 centimeters in diameter. The roots are shallow but as the grass matures, they become stronger and store nutrients that will be necessary for regrowth after cutting. Leaves grow to about 0.4 to 1.2 meters long and 9 centimeters broad. It does better under good soil moisture but can withstand short droughts. It is intolerant to water logging and flooding, can grow on a wide range of soils and withstands low Ph provided the soils are well-drained according to FAO. Mr. Muugu’s future plan is to expand the venture and grow the grass in two acre land. Mwangi can be reached on: 0727794065

8 pumpkin plants gives farmer Sh140,000 MT. KENYA STAR REPORT BARINGO/NYERI

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Paul Kabucwa from Opica Farm holds a 37kg pumpkin fruit for display. A Marigat farmer got more than Sh140,000 by selling the pumpkins to Opica Farm in October 2016. PHOTO LABAN ROBERT.

Baringo County farmer, who sold about 800kg of pumpkins to an agribusiness farm, is scaling up the production to more than one acre in the next season after realising more than Sh140,000 from eight plants. Rachel Cheboite delivered 800kg to Opica Farm in Nyeri after harvesting the fruits, which she had started sharing with neighbours after seeing no possible market for the ‘mammoth’ pumpkins. Cheboite met an Opica Farm officer during the mid-October Kabarnet Branch Agricultural Society of Kenya Show and struck a deal with him. “I had bought the seeds from Margat, a town in Baringo County. I was told they are drought tolerant and their yield is high. From the eight seeds planted, the fruits were more than 20kg each. I never knew where to sell them until Opica visited my home and offered to buy them,”

she said. The plants gave between three and six fruits each. Opica Farm contracts farmers to grow its two pumpkin varieties, which are green and brown from the outside appearance. The firm buys the fruit from farmers at Sh180 per kilo. The Marigat farmer grew the green variety, although she never got it from Opica. This farmer delivered more than 30 pieces, which were weighing between 20kg and 40kg at the end of October, 2016 and earned Sh144,000. The firm has partnered with flour processing companies, which use the dried ground fruit flesh as an ingredient in products like ujimix and other mineral supplements. The soft skin is of the pumpkin is blended into a juice while the seeds are ground and packaged as zinc pellets. The flour is also used in baking cakes. Cheboite has been contracted by the farm to deliver the pumpkins. Pumpkins do well in cold regions with sparingly low rainfall. They have ‘giant’ leaves that cove the soil and any little moisture is retained for growth and production. That makes them better crops for regions that receive irregular or suppressed rainfall,

where maize, beans and other common crops cannot survive. “Maize does not do well in our region if it does not rain consistently. I am scaling up the pumpkins to shield myself against dry spells. It is also a n avenue of making money, which I cannot get with maize or beans, which dry soon after drought sets in,” Pumpkins can also be intercropped to act as cover crops to smoother weeds in maize fields. Pumpkins also fetch well in towns like Nairobi, where a slice of about a quarter of a kilo is sold at about Sh20. It is a common delicacy for children when pounded together with Irish potatoes, plantain and other tubers during weaning. If the scar cap is intact and the skin of the fruit has not been injured, a pumpkin can be stored for more than year after harvesting without any preservation additive. In fact, the yellow- orange flesh becomes sweeter and less saturated with water. This boosts its quality for consumption in direct cooking or processed flour for porridge. Contact: Cheboite can be reached on 0707248368


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Farmers reap from private forests MT. KENYA STAR REPORT MURANG’A

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ncreased demand for timber in the construction industry has provided a big avenue for both small and large scale investors to expand their businesses. The increasing demand has seen a number of private forests being established day by day as the owners seek to reap bountifully from the dynamic sector. According to Murang’a North Zonal Forest manager James Gitonga, locals have been establishing privates forest as an alternative source of timber since the government imposed a ban on harvesting in its forest back in the 90’s.  The officer said that this has been highly rewarding to the farmers with some going to the extent of clearing tea and coffee plantations to pave way for tree planting.  He said the major market for timber has been Thika town and the city of Nairobi that are ever expanding with sporadic residential estates being set up due to the high demand for houses.   Gitonga said close to 50 lorries of timber are ferried to the two towns every week while the left over wood is sold to the tea factories. This translates into 250 tonnes of timber every week, with each lorry carrying between 3- 5 tones.  “Farmers have been making close to Sh10 million per week from these forests and this has become a great investment avenue for many” he said.  He said a tree resource service conducted in the area revealed that what used to be mixed farming in some parts of the upper highland have now been converted into tree zones. Gitonga however noted that the establishment of these forests has been greatly harbored by land holdings as majority of locals own small pieces of land.   He said as a result, most farmers have wood farms whose sizes vary from 0.1 to 0.5 acres while others have been practicing agro forestry using the exotic trees.   He said the private forests trees are fast growing and also provide for the domestic needs of farmers such as fuel and timber for construction.   “In the upper highlands trees grow at a rate of 20 cubic meters per hectare per year and this is a relatively higher rate as compared to other regions” he added.   He however said the maturity duration

vary depending on the intended purpose of the wood. “Trees for fuel should be harvested after three years, wood after five years, poles after seven years and trees for timber can be harvested after 13 years and above” he said.   He said the tree business is a long time investment and those with larger tracts of forests have been benefiting more from the business since they are able to supply the required materials consistently.   He pointed out that Murang’a north has a private forest cover of 75,000 hectares excluding the government forests.   The officer however said residents have been reluctant to plant eucalyptus trees due to the controversial debate on its effects on the environment and they have been providing substitute trees such as the gravellier and Cyprus which can also provide good wood if given ample time to mature. The officer however said even if the private forests have greatly reduced the logging in government forests, measures have been put in place to regulate them by issuing certificates of origin and movement permits which allow traders to harvest trees and ferry the wood from one place to another.   He also expressed concern over massive pre mature harvesting of trees in farms as farmers compete to sell them to the tea factories for used in drying of tea leaves.   “Everybody is clearing trees just to get few coins but they don’t realize the harm they are causing to the environment” he added. Gitonga said the government is liaising with tea factories to incorporate them in enforcing the law by ensuring they only buy wood that is fit for fuel noting that they have been buying even fruit trees which is not acceptable.  “Tea factories have caused great frustration to the efforts we have put in place to maintain forests but we hope they will adhere to the rules” he remarked.   The officer said they will seek to have a memorandum of understanding with the tea factories to ensure they always check the certificates of origin from their fuel suppliers which he said will help reduce massive harvesting of pre mature trees.     He further explained that they have established tree nurseries from which the locals can get tree seedlings to plant in their farms and that those seeking to establish private forests are given extension services from the office. 

Mr. Kinyua from Embu County showcases some tree seedlings some of which are sold to people interested in establishing commercial forests.

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Climbing bean offer farmers better returns MT. KENYA STAR REPORT The demand of beans exceeds supply and the deficit has to be filled by imports from the neighboring countries. One of the ways of complementing bush bean production and cheaply meeting the demand is through climbing bean production. Climbing bean is a more promising bean in terms of production and can help meet the increasing demand. When managed properly, the bean can produce up to four to five tons per hectare. The bean can be grown in a small area and give very good yields due to its nature to grow tall; up to four metres. Due to this, the crop is an excellent space saver. The bean is also able to produce enormously compared to bush bean. One climbing bean plant can produce about one hundred pods in a season, compared to bush bean’s 25 pods. The other advantage of climbing beans is that they improve soil fertility through nitrogen fixation and also through the crop residue left after harvest which can be incorporated in the soil. Planting of climbing beans starts with clearing the land, followed by ploughing by hand, by animal or a tractor. This should be done during the dry season to ensure weeds dry before planting and also to loosen the soil. Plant beans at the onset of rains. Use clean seeds that are viable, pest and disease free, and free from

weeds. The ideal spacing of climbing beans is 75 cm x 25-30cm. The seed rate should be two (2) seeds per hole. Considering that climbing beans are heavy feeders; they require adequate supply of nutrients. A handful of well decomposed manure should be placed per each planting hole, and mixed well with soil. Also, in each hole, place a teaspoonful (5 g) of DAP, 20:20:0 or 17:17:17 and mix with soil thoroughly. At 1-2 weeks after emergence, the young beans should be supported to about 3.5 meters high using sticks, posts, wires or string structure. The support should be strong to improve aeration, reduce disease incidences and give maximum yields. If not supported well, the beans crawl on the ground and give poor yields. If using stakes, one stake can be used to support 1-4 plants to minimize the cost on stakes. Stakes can be obtained from Eucalyptus, Greville, and Bamboo trees or Leucaena and calliandra shrubs. The stakes should be put into the ground deeply and firmly. For maximum yields, use at least 20,000 stakes per hectare (8,000stakes/acre). For good performance of climbing beans weeding to reduce competition with weeds is important. It should be done at least twice during the growth cycle of the beans. The first weeding should be done within two weeks after planting. The common pests of climbing beans are bean fly, mouse birds, ants, aphids, and spider mites, while

A farmer checks his climbing bean crop. the diseases include rust, bacterial blight and anthracnose. Integrated pest and disease management program should be used to control the pests and diseases. Birds being the most problematic pests for the beans are controlled by scaring them to protect the crop. Traditional method of controlling birds which is also applicable is the use of catch crop. The birds destroy the crop by feeding on young shoots, flowers, young leaves and young pods. If for use as green vegetable, beans should be harvested when grain filling is complete. For dry seeds, pods should be harvested by picking when completely dry. Harvesting of dry pods should follow the pattern at which the pods dry as they may not be all dry at the same time. Thresh the dry pods on a clean surface where the seeds won’t be contaminated. Cleaning by sorting and winnowing is done, to remove straw, damaged seeds, weed seeds, dirt, and discolored seeds. Dry the seeds in the sun and then dust them with a storage chemical to avoid damage by pests. Put the dry grains in a gunny bag and place them on a raised ground in the store. The store should be well ventilated and pest proof.

Ripening bananas grows revenue for Ochieng MT. KENYA STAR REPORT KISII As most Kisii and Nyamira growers wait for nine months to get about Sh500 from one bunch of the bananas, another agripreneur is making twice the same amount in two weeks by ripening the fingers for sale to schools. Afro Ochieng’ buys and ripens the fruit for wholesale to schools around Nyamusi Sub-county, Nyamira County. A 70kg to 80kg banana costs him between Sh500 and Sh600. The only ‘value addition’ he does is letting the bananas ripen for four to seven days before packing the hands into the standard bread crates. “Each crate earns Sh3,000. One needs three bananas bunches to fill the crate. For every full bunch, I make between Sh1,000 and Sh1,100. For some farmers ripening and selling is tedious, but for me, it is my pay,” he said. Ochieng sells at least nine crates every week to Mochenwa, St. Kaiser, among other secondary schools in Nyamusi Sub-county. “Schools buy at wholesale. The trick is having extra money to buy the bananas from those farmers who need ready cash. Ikonge, Magwawa, Riomego, Ekerenyo are renowned places for banana growing, therefore, the supply is steady,” he said. A banana takes about nine months and one year to grow from

a sucker to yielding. Tissue cultured varieties, whose planting materials are about two feet tall when transplanting, may take up to one and half years to yield. But their produce, after tests from companies like Aberdare Technologies Limited, can weigh more than 100kg if cultivated under good crop Banana ripening for others husbandry. By the end of this period, a banana of about 90kg- from tissue culture or another Kisii local variety called ng’ombe- earns farmers Sh800 to Sh900 when sold for plantain. For this agripreneur, he can earn up to Sh1,300 after ripening. Apart from the old 20 stools, he has expanded the banana by adding 80 fresh ones to have him covered during shortages or when the prices rise as it usually happens in the months of January until April when most locals turn to plantain when maize flour is expensive. “I cannot afford to raise the cost of the crates to regular customers. I must have a strategy of supplying the bananas constantly and upon demand. Reliability in supplying helps one to the grip the market, which ensures constant income,” he said. Ochieng is part of the Misire Self- help Group, which also bakes bread, cakes and other products from bananas for sale to various outlets in Kisii, Nyamira, Kericho and other neighbouring counties.

The flour is also used in cooking porridge, chapattis, dough nuts among others. The group also dries and grinds banana peelings into power for sale. Banana peelings ‘dust’ is said to relive ulcer pains due to the various minerals like zinc ions in the uncooked materials. “People are turning to natural remedies to deal with lifestyle ailments. It is an opportunity for us to turn that demand into income revenue. Indeed as a group, the new venture is earning us more than five times from every banana bunch,” he said. Ikonge is one of the regions where banana business thrives thought the year, with those who cannot sell their produce to the hawk it along the busy Kisii-Chemosit Road. According to Ochieng, selling the bananas after ripening costs nothing other than time, but the agripreneur makes more than the farmer who toiled for more than one and half years. Ochieng can be reached on: 0734249756


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Kilimo Pesa Oranges offer ex-policeman retirement peace This method has also saved him money as he is no longer bought the conventional chemicals.

MT. KENYA STAR REPORT MURANG’A

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ernard Muhia, a retired police officer has turned to orange farming to sustain himself and his family in his old age. Muhia who retired from the Kenya Police Service 30 years ago invested part of his send-off package in several pyramid schemes hoping to get good returns as promised but his dream was short lived as the schemes collapsed soon after, leaving him in desperation. With the little money he had spared, Muhia bought a piece of land in Kambirwa village in Murang’a County where he tried practicing subsistence farming which failed due to the harsh climatic conditions. Muhia also tried his hand in farming mangoes and avocados but the returns were meager and he resorted to cutting down the trees in frustration. It is after that he decided to give a trial to oranges and opted to stick to them even though they did not do well in the first few seasons that he made a breakthrough in fruit farming. Muhia said he was attracted to orange farming by the good prices the fruit was fetching in the market since only a few

Bernard Muhia, a retired police officer has turned to orange farming people grew oranges in the area and the demand was high. He added that after realizing orange farmers in the locality were very few, he knew there would be a ready market for his fruits. “I started by planting 20 trees and later increased them to 80 to boost my production but the harvests were

poor due to usage of excessive industrial chemicals and the trees were not doing well,” he said. He said he thought using chemical inputs would boost his production and fasten maturity of the trees. However, after consulting agricultural experts, Muhia opted to try organic

farming and the results were exciting. He got more fruits that were big in size and used less money for farm inputs. He used the manure from the livestock in his farm and mixes it with an organic compound to add more nutrients. This method has also saved him money as he is no longer bought the conventional chemicals. Muhia said he has also gained a lot of knowledge from agricultural seminars and booklets issued to him by the agricultural experts on new farming trends. “I make sure attend as many farmers’ seminars as I can to improve my farming skills and expand my knowledge,” he added. Muhia has planted the Washington navel and Valencia varieties in his farm. He has also planted tangerines to complement his returns from oranges. He said he does not have to take his fruits to the market as he receives orders while they are still in the farm and even before they are ripe. “The demand for my

fruits is so high that I am mostly unable to satisfy all my customers,” he added. Muhia who declined to disclose the amount of money he makes from his farming said his fruits’ sales are on the rise and he is pocketing good money with each piece selling for Ksh15. The returns, he said, are enough to sustain his family and educate his children to higher levels. “I don’t regret switching to orange farming because am getting enough money to support my family and embark on other development projects,” he said. He, however, said lack of water for irrigation is a major challenge to his farming as his village lies in a semi-arid area. “If only I could get irrigation water, then I would be able to expand my orange farming and boost the production for sale in the international market,” he noted. He pleaded with agricultural experts to devise a way of fighting fruit flies that he said have been causing him sleepless nights as they destroy some of his fruits saying he has tried to fight the insect without success. The insect, he said can cause massive loss of fruits especially during the peak season adding that farmers would be overjoyed if there was a way to completely eradicate it from their farms.

Coffee direct sale earns farmers Sh1B more MT. KENYA STAR The value of Kenyan coffee rose 69 per cent in the three months to December partly due to a price increase of nearly one third. The surge in earnings was also explained by a rise in direct sales abroad and improved productivity. The beverage earned the country Sh2.6 billion between October and December compared with Sh1.5 billion realised in the corresponding period in 2015. The average price of a 50-kilogramme bag of coffee rose to Sh22,000 last year from Sh17,300 in 2015 representing a 30 per cent growth. “Gross Value realised marked an increase of 69 per cent from Sh1.5 billion to Sh2.6 billion,” said Nairobi Coffee Exchange chief executive Daniel Mbithi. According to Mr Mbithi production increased by 30 per cent from 70,000 60-kilogramme bags to 91,335, pushing up the sales. Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) chief executive Alfred Busolo said the second window, normally referred to as direct sales, played a key

role in improving the value of one of the Kenya’s major export crops. “The good returns from coffee is attributed to direct sales in the export market that saw the value of our crop go up significantly,” he said. About 15 per cent of the Kenyan coffee was sold directly to overseas market last year while the rest went through the auction. A 50-kilogramme bag of coffee sold directly to the US attracts an average of Sh30,000 compared with about Sh23,000 fetched at the Nairobi Coffee

The value of Kenyan coffee rose 69 per cent in the three months to December partly due to a price increase of nearly one third.

Exchange. In April, Kenya will have an opportunity to promote its coffee to more than 15,000 delegates expected to gather in Seattle, US, at the annual SCAA event, to promote its brand after it was chosen as a model country in cultivation of the crop. – BUSINESS DAILY. The value of Kenyan coffee rose 69 per cent in the three months to December partly due to a price increase of nearly one third. The surge in earnings was also explained by a rise in direct sales abroad and improved productivity. The beverage earned the country Sh2.6 billion between October and December compared with Sh1.5 billion realised in the corresponding period in 2015. The average price of a 50-kilogramme bag of coffee rose to Sh22,000 last year from Sh17,300 in 2015 representing a 30 per cent growth. “Gross Value realised marked an increase of 69 per cent from Sh1.5 billion to Sh2.6 billion,” said Nairobi Coffee Exchange chief executive Daniel Mbithi. According to Mr Mbithi production increased by 30 per cent from

70,000 60-kilogramme bags to 91,335, pushing up the sales. Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) chief executive Alfred Busolo said the second window, normally referred to as direct sales, played a key role in improving the value of one of the Kenya’s major export crops. “The good returns from coffee is attributed to direct sales in the export market that saw the value of our crop go up significantly,” he said. About 15 per cent of the Kenyan coffee was sold directly to overseas market last year while the rest went through the auction. A 50-kilogramme bag of coffee sold directly to the US attracts an average of Sh30,000 compared with about Sh23,000 fetched at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. In April, Kenya will have an opportunity to promote its coffee to more than 15,000 delegates expected to gather in Seattle, US, at the annual SCAA event, to promote its brand after it was chosen as a model country in cultivation of the crop.


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Kiraitu taps MPs in county development plan MT. KENYA STAR

Governor Kiraitu Murungi while meeting MPs from the county.

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi has set up leadership roles for members of parliament in his county development in a move expected to promote inclusivity and reduce infighting among elected leaders. The MPs have been accommodated as patrons in the just launched Sub-County Development Committees. “In my development blue print, I promised to involve all and sundry in my quest to ensure that my leadership and public resources are felt in every corner of Meru County. My style of leadership envisages an all-inclusive leadership so that

everyone and everybody felt part of the process as we embark on the journey of Making Meru Great,” he said. One of the advantages of including the MPs in the county development plans is that it will eliminate the opportunity of duplicating development projects as MPs are also members of the Constituency Development Funds. Sub-Counties are essentially constituencies. The move will also bring harmony among the elected leaders which has been lacking in a number of counties resulting in the lack of political support for the governor’s projects. The infighting among elected leaders has been costly to

Meru’s Ethiopian coffee model takes shape MT. KENYA STAR

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he plan by Meru County Government to introduce the Ethiopian model of paying farmers every month has taken shape following presentation of recommendations by the committee appointed to advise on its implementation. The committee has presented the recommendations to Governor Kiraitu Murungi who promised that the plan will be rolled out in April. If successful, the model is expected to change the fortunes of coffee farmers and encourage others to grow more coffee. It is also expected to be replicated by other coffee growing counties, potentially repositioning Kenya as among the world’s top producers of coffee. “My government will guarantee the Meru coffee farmers a Sh500 million loan from the Cooperative Bank to actualize the monthly payment program,” said Governor Kiraitu while receiving the recommendations. The Governor emphasized the need for the cooperative societies to join hands and embrace the model to enjoy economies of scale. The County Minister in charge of Cooperatives Maingi Mugambi said the piloting of the model will start in early May this year. “We will introduce electronic weighing system and set up an information technology system to ensure payments are done monthly and on time,” he said. The pilot project that is being implemented jointly by the County Government of Meru and the national government’s agency, the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA). It could see Kenya rise her production from the current 40,000 tones to 90,000 tonnes of coffee, a target set to be met in the next three years.

Packaged coffee by Meru Central Coffe Union. Farmers are to be paid every month for coffee delivered. The governor said during one of the committee’s tours in Ethiopia, he was surprised to learn that Ethiopian coffee farmers are paid after 30 days. Ethiopia is the largest coffee producer in Africa with annual production of 700,000 tonnes a year. “When I went to Ethiopia on a research mission as chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, I found Oromia Cooperative Union pays coffee farmers on time.” “Farmers plant coffee not because they love planting it but because they want money. And now that the national government is fully supporting us, it is upon farmers to adopt this model. Coffee farmers should not rely only on it but also on macadamia to make extra money,” he said. “This pilot, the first of its kind in the country, will be used

to gauge the success of the program in Kenya before being rolled out to the other 31 coffee growing counties. The first purchase under the plan is expected in April 2018,” said Governor Kiraitu. “We want to increase production and simplify the payment system. Farmers in Ethiopia do not wait long to sell coffee. The way we sell bananas is the way we should sell coffee,” he said. In Kenya, coffee farmers wait at least six months and can drag into a year before receiving payment for their coffee. This has disfranchised many farmers who have opted to grow crops that generate quicker payments like bananas and horticulture products. Reforms that have been implemented so far have helped increase the price of coffee to farmers, with some societies paying as high as Sh110 per kilogramme

during the last season and private millers buying cash at Sh60 per kilogramme. This is much better price compared to a few years ago when price per kilogramme was barely Sh20. But despite this pricing improvement, coffee farmers are still cautious, requiring more assurances especially on the sustainability of the pricing and its timing. The Presidential National Task Force on Coffee Sub-Sector Reforms appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta last year had recommended a near similar model, where coffee farmers would be paid at least 40 percent of the prevailing price on the spot for cherry they deliver or about Sh15. But some farmers have protested those recommendations and dialogue on the task force recommendations is ongoing.

residents, who are innocent victims of missed or delayed projects. “These Committees whose formation involved the MPs will be key in spearheading my development agenda in our Constituencies,” said Governor Kiraitu. “They constitute various levels of leadership, including representatives of the National Government, the Clergy, Youth, Women, people with disabilities, among others.” “We all have a common goal and responsibility of serving our people and I appeal to members of the Development Committees to work in harmony and avoid any elements of disruption,” he added.


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Murang’a farmers add value to mango, call for government support KNA

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group of mango farmers from Murang’a South Sub-county are set to reap high returns from their produce this season by embracing value addition. Located three kilometers from the Meru-Nairobi highway, Kambiti East Mango Farmers Association which comprises of 15 members are now drying their mangoes instead of selling them when they ripen as they did few years back. According to the Group’s chairperson Patrick Sila, the group started in 2013 with the idea of trying to curb post-harvest losses which the farmers used to incur every time the fruits are in season. ‘’The region is semi-arid and the climate is conducive for fruits like mangoes, oranges and paw paws.” The chair said that after attending a workshop which had been organized by agricultural department he began focusing on how his community could benefit from the information and skills he had acquired. The chairman mobilized willing mango farmers in the area and shared the idea and the ones who bought the idea imme-

diately set up a group. “My area which is mainly arid and has many farmers mainly growing mangoes but they have been experiencing a lot of losses with brokers taking advantage of the situation and exploiting them. The chair said after the group was formed, they embarked on doing proposals to get a donor to assist them buy the necessary machines for drying the mangoes and other fruits. Sila said they were lucky to get the Village Industrial Powered Machines (VIP) which basically uses firewood on loan at a total cost of Sh1.8million from a lender for drying their produce but they are supposed to start repaying in installments in May last year though they are yet to break even. The group sources for mangoes from its members and other people in the community willing to supply them. ‘’One of the requirement to join our group was that every member had to have a minimum of at least thirty (30) exotic mango trees but many of our members have even more”. We normally buy mangoes that are not too green or ripe (medium ripe) because

The group’s secretary Frida Mbai, explains how the VIP machine operates. Members of the group at the processing plant prepare fruits for drying.

this are good for drying. “The medium ripe fruits are good for processing because before taking them for drying they are washed, peeled and sliced into thin slices”. The group mainly specializes in adding value to mango varieties such as Kent, Tommy, Vadec and apple. In addition, the group adds value to products like pine apples, Amaranth (Terere), cassavas, tomatoes and bananas. “From terere, bananas, cassavas we normally make flour which we sell locally” he said. He said for now they are yet to source for a nutritionist who would train the members on how to mix different flours

in right quantities and qualities so that the consumers get the maximum benefits. The group for now for example processes flour and packs it without mixing it with other products as they await training from the experts. Sila noted that though the group is in its initial stages if the county government helped them to fully settle the debt for the processing machines it would help greatly boost the living standards of the people living in the region and the entire county. He also cited that the group does not process in large quantities due to lack of license and stamp from Kenya bureau of standards. “On average every month we normally dry 1000kilograms of mangoes which is little, citing that the group had the capacity to add value to more. He said due to hectic requirements from various department issuing licenses they normally sell their products locally though he was optimistic that once the group meets the set requirements they will be able to acquire label from KEBS hence being able to supply outlets like supermarkets in the country and also export to other countries. “From our research we have established that many countries like South Sudan, Somalia Dubai could be our major customers” he said. He revealed that the prices of their products range depending on the products with a kilogram of dried mango fetching an average of Sh900. “Ten (10) kilograms of fresh mangoes produces on average 8 kilograms of mango powder” adding that for the mango to be dried it has to be peeled and sliced into thin slices” No Workers ‘We do not have any workers for now

as group members come to the plant everyday especially during mango season offering the required labor “ he said adding that the proceeds are normally divided among the members with the rest going to repayment of the loan. The machine basically uses firewood to heat water which turns into a steam, hence drying the products and every member has to bring 1000kilogram of firewood per season. “By adding value to various fruits produced here locally will ensure that our consumers get them all year round and also the farmer is able to put money on his pocket. The chair said among the challenges the group faces is lack of piped water in the area, the machine basically uses water during processing the fruits hence the members have to buy water at Sh20 per 20 litre jerrican. Also, lack of market as the group sells its products locally with many people yet to embrace the idea of either taking a fruit in powder form and they are used to fresh fruits during the season. The group also says that they live in fear as they fear the machine maybe taken by the owners as their debts is accumulating day in and they are yet to break even. In addition, lack of power in the area poses as a risk to where they have initiated their machines. The group appealed to the county government to chip in and help them repay their debts for the machine citing that it could be able to employ hundreds of jobless youths. They also urged the area member of parliament to help them have piped water in the area as this would assist in cutting down the cost of running the machine.

Wa Iria proposes national law to streamline hawking MT. KENYA STAR

The Bill, among other things, also plans to structure the hawking business into cooperatives and create a national regulatory Authority to manage the trade.

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he Senate has received a bill proposed by Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria which seeks to bring dignity to hawking and include hawkers in the mainstream economy. The bill, which in its current format is a proposed law, requires county governments to give hawkers a 30-day notice before evicting them. It has also proposed the establishment of the Hawkers and Street Vendors Authority to facilitate the registration, regulation and monitoring of trade. “The who idea is to ensure that hawkers are recognized as legitimate traders in Kenya and then facilitate them to make bigger contribution to the national economy,” said Wa Iria. The 2018 Hawkers and Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihoods) Bill is aimed at providing a legal framework for recognition, protection and regulation of hawkers and street vendors in all counties as primary pillars of economic and social development by putting in place an identification mechanism and minimum standards

Governor Mwangi wa Iria, right, and MMC Africa Law team leader Edward Muriu during a media briefing on the Bill.

of operation. “They contribute over Sh3.6 trillion annually to our country’s economy, but they are treated as criminals and it is time we stop criminalising the informal sector,” he said. He said hawkers must be recognised as economic facilitators in Kenya,

pointing out that in developed countries, hawking has been structured and it has yielded success. According to the governor, hawkers should be used as frontline marketers for locally produced goods and products and should be able to attend trade

fairs. He added that Chinese companies take advantage of local hawkers and use them to sell their electronic wares. The money in the long-run goes back to help develop China’s economy. “Hawkers are the link between producers and buyers and should be respected and empowered. They should be provided with uniforms and badges for easy identification. The errant ones should be disciplined through their saccos,” the governor said. Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria, Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka and MMC Africa Law Team Leader Edward Muriu after presenting the Hawkers and Street Vendors Bill (2018). “It is socially immoral for county

governments to have a contingent of officers chasing after hawkers and confiscating their goods every day. It is not illegal to be a hawker,” he said on Friday in Gatanga. Hawkers, Wa Iria said, pay more revenue than other traders since they are charged daily. “Hawkers pay an average of Sh50 daily, translating into Sh18,000 per year,” he said. He said Chinese companies take advantage of local hawkers and use them to sell their electronic wares. The money in the long-run goes back to help develop China’s economy. “They are even in developed countries, but they have been structured. In this country, they are being treated as pests and criminals and their life is like that of an antelope,” he said. The Bill, among other things, also plans to structure the hawking business into cooperatives and create a national regulatory Authority to manage the trade. It also proposes trade zones in addition to setting up of specific times that hawkers will be allowed to conduct business in cities and major towns besides training for the traders.


MT KENYA STAR

ISSUE 39, 2018 I

THARAKA NITHI

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Muthomi government to pay half NIHF fees for families MT. KENYA STAR

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haraka Nithi County Governor Muthomi Njuki has announced an ambitious medical plan for the residents where the county government will pay half of the national medical insurance fee for each family to ensure that each household is covered. The cost of National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) for non-formally employed families is Sh500 per month, meaning that the county government will pay Sh250 per household and the family pays the other half. This amount to be paid by the families is affordable and is expected to ensure that all families enjoy the NHIF cover, which benefits them by reducing the cost of hospital costs and reducing the incidences of harambees to aid in paying hospital fees, money that can now be used for other economically beneficial purposes. “The County Government is in the process of easing access to medical care for its people with plans underway to implement a programme that will see each household get a card to access our hospitals,” said Governor Muthomi.

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He said his government will also align itself to the law that states that children between one day and 5 years access medical care without charges. This will also apply to elderly ladies above 70 years.

Governor Muthomi Njuki, centre, and other county leaders when he spoke about the NHIF plans.

“Under the plan to be rolled out soon, my government is looking forward to partnering with the National Hospital Insurance Fund to provide affordable healthcare under the universal healthcare scheme,”

he added. He said this is part of the county working towards Big Four, the President Uhuru Kneyatta’s four-pillar agenda for the next five years among which is to ensure that every Kenyans is covered for

medical costs by the NHIF. “As a government, we are fine tuning this programme and will in the coming days be able to roll it out to all our people. Gone will be the days that a resident of Tharaka Nithi County

will suffer because they do not have money to access the proper medication they need,” said Governor Muthomi. He said his government will also align itself to the law that states that children between one day and 5 years access medical care without charges. This will also apply to elderly ladies above 70 years. Governor Muthomi joins counties like Laikipia and Murang’a which are also working to ensure that all the families have an NHIF cover. The cover is seen as a game-changer in financing hospital costs because previously, families would cover all their medical costs by paying in cash from the family income and savings.

Tharaka Nithi farmers eye new income from green grams MT. KENYA STAR

The Kenya Agricultural, Livestock and Research Organization has commenced a three-year initiative to encourage farmers in Eastern Kenya to produce sunflower and soya beans using Integrated Soil Fertility Management Technologies. These crops are expected to enhance food security and nutrition as well as increase income among small scale farmers in drier areas of Meru, Tharaka Nithi and Makueni Counties. The Organization says the ecological requirements in the Eastern region are suitable for the establishment of soya beans which is largely farmed and consumed in Western and Nyanza regions. Also Read Gov’t clears Kshs 70m debt owed to pyrethrum farmers KALRO Principal Project Coordinator Dr. Stephen Kimani says farmers in the Eastern region would reap maximum benefits from growing of soya beans as a legume. The Organization is working with groups to reach out to many farmers in the region to embrace soya beans farming which can

be consumed in different forms. He noted that most farmers were avoiding the crop due to lack knowledge on how to cook the beans. Also Read Uchumi Supermarkets stares at auction over Kshs 67 million debt Farmers in Tigania West where the twoyear project which is being funded by the United States Agency for International Aid has been initiated have embraced the crops. Joseph Weru, a farmer in the region says the crops thrive irrespective of the weather patterns. Another farmer, Generasio Karithi, who is among those trained on value addition under their Njia Mungano Soya Self Help Group, is grateful after being taught how to prepare soya products and is looking forward to acquiring hand operated pressers for extracting oil and mills for producing soya flour. KALRO is promoting improved soya varieties using the Integrated Soil Fertility Management Technologies which yield up to six bags per acre as compared to one bag an acre from the traditional varieties grown since the 1950s

Crop scientist Tony Obua looks at an improved soya bean crop. Tharaka Nithi farmers will be supported to grow the crop.


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MT KENYA STAR

I ISSUE 39, 2018

LAIKIPIA Laikipia farmers replace maize with tea tree THOMSON REUTERS

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t Sweet Waters in Laikipia County, Veronicah Nyambura stands under the hot sun between two fields. One is full of lush plants - but the other has crops so wilted that their leaves have curled up. The green land is planted with tea tree, an Australian native that thrives in this semi-arid part of Kenya. Opposite is a field of maize, which suffers in years of poor rains and high temperatures. “Maize is very disappointing. You plant but you’re never sure whether you’ll harvest anything,” said Nyambura, who has planted a quarter-acre of tea trees. The 65-year-old said she harvests 900 kg of tea tree branches every six months from that bit of land. When it was planted to maize, she got about 270 kg of grain every nine months, she said. Many farmers in this part of Laikipia County – like farmers in many parts of the world - cannot afford to buy seeds for alternative crops better suited to drought, so they keep planting maize. But Nyambura and about 800 other small-scale farmers were sold tea tree seedlings on credit by a company called Earthoil that also guaranteed to buy their harvest. Each seedling cost 3.5 Kenyan shillings. Earthoil, which buys the branches for between Sh19 a kilogram, extracts the tea tree oil at its local distillery and exports it to British skin-care company, The Body Shop. To meet the demands of buyers, Martin Thogoto Mwambia, 68, uses mulch - not chemical fertilisers or pesticides - on his 1.75-acre tea tree farm in Ngarariga village, in neighbouring Nyeri county. “I am mulching them with cowdung and dried leftovers of tea tree,” he said with a smile while rubbing the dirt off his hands. The farmer said he has reaped a fortune from the crop, which means he does not have to spend his old age working in menial jobs. “Handling Sh50,000 and sometimes Sh100,000 is a miracle to me.

A farmer in Laikipia admires flowering tea tree farm.

Body oils as displayed are some of the products made from Kenyangrown tea tree.

Tea tree has given me that privilege,” said Mwambia, who worked as a guard in a local firm before he began growing tea trees. Prior to tea tree he grew maize - but even in good years he earned far less, he said. “Sometimes when the drought is at its worst I would harvest a tin (a kilogramme) or two,” said Mwambia who

is now harvesting an average of 10,000 kgs of tea tree branches annually from his farm. The proceeds have enabled him to buy two dairy cows, get connected to electricity and buy a television set. “Life is better for us now. I am happy,” said his wife, Jane Gathigia. The drought-tolerant tea trees come with

the advantage of a ready market, the farmers said. “Marketing maize is a headache. The prices fluctuate from time to time and farmers end up making losses,” said Alice Wanja, 42, at her quarter-acre tea tree farm at Sweet Waters, about 1.5 km from Nyambura’s home. “There is nothing like that with tea tree. The buyer is already at the waiting end and the buying price is good,” she said. The Laikipia County project came about through a grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and implemented by a local charity, Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), which partnered with Earthoil. Although projects of this kind guarantee farmers a reliable buyer, they do not necessarily offer security in the longterm since the buyer may go out of business or move elsewhere, warned Tom Nyamache, professor of economics at Turkana University College. On the flip side, the buyer is also at risk of closing shop if the farmers’ productivity falls or fails completely, he said. It is important that farmers plant an alternative crop that also can thrive in the changed climate conditions to serve as a fallback should their tea tree

ventures fail, he said. BIG DEMAND Earthoil’s project manager, Martin Wainaina, said there is such a big demand for tea tree oil that they are making aggressive plans to expand production. The Body Shop wants 30 tonnes of oil from the firm each year, but Earthoil can currently only supply 8 tonnes, he said. Expanding the pool of farmers is a challenge. The plants have to be grown near the distillery, as tea tree branches are bulky and difficult to transport, he said. The tea tree thrives in the volcanic soil and high altitudes in this region near Mount Kenya, Wainaina said. Expanding production to other parts of Kenya with similar arid and semi-arid climates will only be possible through research and investment in more tea tree processing, analysts say. Nancy Chege, country programme manager at GEF-UNDP, Kenya, said scaling up tea tree farming also would depend on continuing to look for new markets, both locally and internationally. But “most (such) community projects ... are usually sustainable because trade goes on even after the project (ends),” she said.

Residents warned against buying Marmanet plots KNA

Residents of Laikipia County have been warned against buying pieces of land that are part of Marmanet forest. Governor Ndiritu Muriithi said that Kenya Forest Service (KFS) had placed a warning on the illegal sale of the plots. “Don’t buy plots in the forest as you will soon lose

them because the National Land Commission will announce the revocation of title deeds on the 10,000 hectare area,” Muriithi. He said it was only Uaso Narok A and B that were legally hived off the forest and given to people to settle in the 1980s. “Those who occupy land outside the Uaso settlement scheme are there illegally as their case against

KFS was dismissed by a Nakuru court,” he said. The governor emphasized that rehabilitation of the forest was important in restoring the rivers that are water sources for many people in the region. “Gathara River is one streams drawing its water from river Ngare Naro that runs through Laikipia. This is the main source of water

for domestic use for many people who are yet to get connected to the town piped water grid,” he said. Ngare Naro River has its origin in Lake Ol Bolossat in the neighbouring Nyandarua County. The Lake was last month gazetted as a protected wetland area by the outgoing Environment, Water and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary, Judi Wakhungu.

Only Uaso Narok A and B that were legally hived off the forest and given to people to settle in the 1980s. “Those who occupy land outside the Uaso settlement scheme are there illegally as their case against KFS was dismissed by a Nakuru court


MT KENYA STAR

ISSUE 39, 2018 I

EMBU New laws to drive investment MT. KENYA STAR

County government of Embu has introduced two proposed laws to the County Assembly aimed at making it easier to invest in the country The Embu County Investment and Development Corporation Bill and the Embu County Tourism Bill (2018) were read for the first time at the August House and immediately committed to the sectoral committee on Trade, Tourism, Investment and Industrialisation. The Investment and Development Corporation Bill seeks to create a body that will be responsible for holding property and assets on behalf of the County Government for the purposes of investment and development, undertaking investment on behalf of the devolved

government for purposes of generating revenue and venturing into any development initiative for the county with a business or social purpose.The corporation will also be tasked with the mandate of promotion of economic growth and job creation, facilitating investment in the county, resource mobilisation and undertaking business ventures solely or in partnership with other entities or persons in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) system for the benefit of the county. The corporation will at the same time be expected to advise the Executive member and County Executive Committee on the necessary policies, programs and plans to be adopted in order to attract investments in the county and to carry out roles necessary for the implementation of the objects and purpose of the proposed law.

Embu in revenue target shortfall MT. KENYA STAR

The Embu County Government has missed its half-year revenue collection target by more than Sh350 million as per the December 31st, 2017. County Assembly Budget and Appropriation committee chairman Robert Ireri termed the revenue shortfall situation as extremely grave and called for concerted efforts to ensure more revenue is collected to fund county projects. The Kagaari South MCA said the county had only collected Sh102 Million by end of December as opposed to Sh450 Million.

During the budget-making process last year, Ireri said that the county had set a revenue target of Sh900 million to supplement the allocation from the National Government in a bid to spar economic growth. He however acknowledged that the target was quite ambitious, saying it would only be realised if loopholes for revenue leakages were sealed. MCA also revealed that the budget committee had allocated Sh90 million for the development of a fool proof electronic platform for revenue collection that will curb graft. However, the system is yet to be operationalised.

Wambora to start housing projects KNA

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mbu County Government has embarked on a programme to develop houses in plots that were owned by the defunct local authorities to address housing challenges in the county. Governor Martin Wambora said they are in the process of identifying and getting title deeds for all the County government land before inviting investors in real estate to partner with the devolved unit. He said they would rely on public private partnership to change the housing landscape of Embu town. The County government will avail the land to the developer with whom they will share ownership of the plots and returns once complete. Addressing over 100 investors in Embu town recently, Governor Wambora said providing residents with decent and affordable housing will be one of the major pillars in his final term. “We are doing spatial plans and getting title deeds in Runyenjes, Siakago and Kiritiri markets. The programme of developing new and affordable housing units will start in Embu town and will be funded by the public private partnership,” he said. He revealed that 210 housing units for civil servants will be developed in Embu town adding that land has been identified and a developer had shown interest. He said the programme is meant to utilize idle land, reduce land grabbing as well as offering decent housing to residents. The Governor also encouraged plot owners in Embu town to move away from building flats and invest in high

A member of the public giving views on the Embu County Tourism Bill, 2018 at Kiritiri Town. rise buildings which will give them better returns. He advised them to partner with real estate developers or access loans to construct skyscrapers. Embu town has seen massive development over the years with an increase in high rise housing in the town centre and some estates though in other

prime land, plot owners still practiced farming. “We want to change the attitude of plot owners. If they can’t develop their plots, they can sell to financially able people to develop them. We want to change the town’s look as well as offer our people decent housing,” he said.

We are doing spatial plans and getting title deeds in Runyenjes, Siakago and Kiritiri markets. The programme of developing new and affordable housing units will start in Embu town and will be funded by the public private partnership.

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Planned law to grow tourism MT. KENYA STAR

Embu County will soon open a new circuit to the Mt. Kenya summits in a bid to boost local revenue earnings by tapping into the unexploited tourist attraction sites. The County Assembly Trade, Tourism, Investment and Industrialisation committee is in the process of rolling out an ambitious tourism masterplan that is aimed at putting Embu in the map of major Kenyan tourist destinations by investing in the available natural wonders in the county. The committee’s vice chairman Nathan Mwari observed that the Embu trail to the peak of Mt. Kenya through Irangi forest was shorter and more scenic than any other in the region, therefore emphasising the need for the county to make concerted efforts to open the circuit for both local and foreign tourists. Speaking during public participation forums on the Embu County Tourism Bill at Siakago and Kiritiri towns, the Nthawa MCA also said the county would also be improving infrastructure at the Mwea Game Reserve to ease accessibility for visitors and in turn enable the County Government collect revenue in terms of gate fees. He added that Embu was at a position to compete with Nairobi and Narok counties which host the Nairobi and Maasai Mara national parks, but the county had not made efforts to commercialise the Mwea Game reserve to tap revenue from the national tourism earnings. In addition, Mwari said the county would engage investors from the hospitality industry to set up cottages at classified heritage sites and picturesque attractions like the Kianjiru hill where the tourism department intends to establish a planetarium and around the seven forks hydroelectric dam reservoirs. Minority Leader Lenny Masters however said there was need to balance development in the county to ensure that the Mbeere region also benefits from tourism oriented projects. Masters was supported by Mavuria MCA Ngari Mbaka who said the Embu tourism circuit ought to traverse the entire county to ensure even the most marginal areas benefit from revenue from tourism. Mbaka also challenged locals to boost tourism in Embu County by touring attraction sites and not entirely relying on foreigners to bring income through the sector. Mbeti South MCA Murithi Kiura echoed the sentiments and urged Embu residents to support the County Government’s efforts to improve tourism by welcoming tourists with artefacts and traditional dance routines. They said the Tourism Bill, if enacted, would provide the legal framework for the county to improve the sector by pumping funds and establishing management organs to run the affairs of tourism in the county.


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THE BIG FOUR

MT KENYA STAR

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I ISSUE 39, 2018

MT. KENYA STAR

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he Big Four is an initiative of President Uhuru Kenyatta, aimed at accelerating Kenya’s development in the next five years. The president’s plan, with support of all Kenyans, is to achieve fast economic growth in four areas. One is to increase the number of industries so that Kenyans manufacture more of their products instead of importing and also enable more processing of agriculture produce instead of exporting it in raw form. Industries will create more job opportunities for Kenyans. Today, manufacturing sector contributes 9 percent to the total value of the national economy. President Kenyatta wants to raise this to 15 percent in the next five years. The second target is to have every Kenyan covered by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) This will enable Kenyans to spend less of their pocket money on paying for treatment. It will reduce the family burden on spending a lot of money to pay for treatment. The third target is to increase food production in Kenya. This will create more opportunities for farmers to grow

Understanding the Big Four; Food Security

CONTD. ON PAGE 26

“The ministries of agriculture and irrigation will publish terms and conditions by which commercial farmers will be able to lease idle agricultural land owned by the government, the better to raise our production of strategic crops.”

FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY

100% Food and Nutrition Security : Maize, Rice Rice

Maize 2017

2018

2019

2020

40,000,000

46,000,000

50,600,000

55,660,000

61,226,000 67,348,000

52,000,000 Demand (90 Kg) 12,000,000 Gap (Imports) Ave Retail Price (Ksh 79.12 per 2 Kg Gorogoro) Ave retail Price (Ksh 135 per 2 Kg flour pack)

53,156,000 7,156,000

54,311,000 3,711,000

55,466,600 (193,400)

56,622,000 57,770,000 (4,604,000) (9,578,000)

71.28

67.7

64.3

61.1

58

108

102

98

95

90

2021

2022

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

Production (MT)

112,800

124,080

148,896

193,565

270,991

406,486

Consumption (MT)

538,370

566,634

596,099

627,394

660,332

694,999

Imports Price Ksh. per Kg Pishori

425,570

442,554

447,203

433,829

389,341

288,513

140

130

125

120

110

100

100

95

90

80

75

70

2018

2019

Price Ksh per Kg IR rice

80,000,000

800,000

70,000,000

700,000

60,000,000

600,000

Quantity in (MT)

90 Kg bags

Target Prod. (90 Kg)

50,000,000 40,000,000 30,000,000 20,000,000

10,000,000

500,000 400,000 300,000 200,000 100,000

-

0 Target Prod. (90 Kg)

Demand (90 Kg)

2017

PRODUCTION(MT)

2020 Year

2021

CONSUMPTION(MT)

2022 IMPORTS

FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY

100% Food and Nutrition Security commitment: Food availability – maize, rice and potatoes Maize (90Kg bags annually) 40M 46M 2017 2018

0M Bags

112,800MT 124,080MT

2018 Potatoes

1.3Mil MT

0MT

406,486MT 2022

1,000

880

720

600

540

500

400 200

1.55Mil MT 2018 2.52Mil MT

0

2017

18

19

1,000

Direct

Indirect

2022

1,150 4,500 1,500

1,100

600

1,000

400 750

200

500 200

0 18

21

19

20

21

2022

2018

19

50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

▪ Enact legislation to make soil liming mandatory -2018 ▪ Enact legislation to cap the cost of leasing land- to attract

50

10

42

35

private/foreign investors

28

▪ Enact legislation to halt further subdivision of arable land ▪ Enact Warehouse Receipt System Bill 2016 – April 2018 ▪ Enforce Fisheries Management and Development ACT ▪ Enforcement of the Road legislation to eliminate multiple levies across

21 16

2017

18

19

20

21

2022

Affordability Cost of food as a percentage of income

800

2017

20

Jobs created ‘000

1000 Production SMEs No. of businesses 1,000 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0

1,040

800

Rice 0MT

1,200

1,200 67M 2022

Legislation support required

Small holder production & value addition % of agricultural production and exports

Land under irrigation ‘000 Acres

20

21

22

Total

50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

47

2017

43

18

39

19

35

20

“Kenya buys 30 million pairs of shoes a year, yet it has the third-largest cattle herd in africa. The government will ensure that all hides and skins are fully processed locally, personnel trained, 5,000 cottage industries set up, machakos leather park completed and three more leather parks identified.”

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21

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

25

2022 9

Counties. Food Security Bill, 2014 Legislation to stimulate water harvesting across the Country Legislation on irrigated land for each constituency Legislation on caged fish farming Enforcement of Agriculture regulations - Crops(Tea, sugar, potatoes) Restoration of commodity levies to beef up commodity fund. Regulations on Commodity levies – sugar


MT KENYA STAR

ISSUE 37, 39, 2018 2017 I

CORPORATE NEWS

Equitel customers now get free hospital insurance E MT. KENYA STAR

quitel subscribers will now have access to a mobile-based insurance product, called Riziki Cover, that will ease the financial burden associated with lost daily income from one’s employment or personal business in case they are admitted in hospital. The Riziki Cover through a partnership between Equitel, Equity Insurance Agency, insurer Britam as well as technical service provider, Inclusivity Solutions. It is accessible to Equitel subscribers who use airtime from Kshs 100 or make Mobile Banking transactions worth Kshs 1,000 or more per month. Equitel subscribers can activate Riziki Cover by dialling *745#. In case of hospital admission for a period of three consecutive nights or more, a registered subscriber who meets the requirements will receive a fixed payout for every night spent in a hospital. The cash payout will be Sh400 per night for a subscriber who uses airtime from Sh100 or makes Mobile Banking transactions worth Sh1,000 or more per month. The cash payout will double to Kshs 800 for a subscriber who uses airtime from Sh100 and makes Mobile Banking transactions worth Sh1,000 or more per month. See table below: “We are proud to introduce this unique service to all our Equitel users who can now secure their daily earnings through Riziki Cover. It is easy and convenient to sign up and offers benefits that are accessible instantly. Our subscribers will now have peace of mind as they focus on getting back to full health in the event of sickness or injury,” Compensation Value Sh400 per night

Sh800 per night

said Jack Ngare, the Managing Director of Finserve Africa. “Riziki Cover is the first step in our digital journey. With this innovative product, our customers can buy insurance and register claims using their mobile phones. We are excited to roll-out this product in partnership with Equitel, Britam and Inclusivity Solutions. This is the global trend whereby services are being offered digitally and through devices,” said David Muchiri, the General Manager of Equity Insurance Agency. Britam Micro Insurance has said that the partnership will facilitate the provision of the cover to more people. “The partnership with Equitel goes a long way towards in-

Qualification Uses airtime above Sh100 OR Makes mobile banking transactions above Sh1,000 Uses airtime above Sh100 AND Makes mobile banking transactions above Sh1,000

creasing insurance penetration. We now have the capability to cover over 1.8 million subscribers with the Riziki cover through a fast and efficient mobile platform,” said Charles Muyodi, General Manager, Britam Micro Insurance Business. Mr Muyodi said Riziki would cover all hospital admissions, as long as the illness, injury or condition requires a subscriber to be admitted in hospital for three consecutive nights or more. On his part, Jeremy Leach, Chief Executive, Inclusivity Solutions said that the launch of Riziki Cover is the start of an exciting new range of digital insurance products for Equitel. “Through our expertise in designing, building and operating digital insurance businesses, we are thrilled to be able to launch this comprehensive digital insurance service with our partners, Equitel, Equity Insurance Agency and Britam” he added. Equitel subscribers can upgrade their cover to ‘Riziki Plus Personal Cover’ or ‘Riziki Plus Family Cover’ by paying month-

Equitel subscribers can upgrade their cover to ‘Riziki Plus Personal Cover’ or ‘Riziki Plus Family Cover’ by paying monthly premiums of Kshs 140 and Kshs 620 per month respectively. ly premiums of Kshs 140 and Kshs 620 per month respectively. For these premium products, Equitel users will receive a cash payout of Kshs 2,500 per night for hospitalization of three consecutive nights and above on the Riziki Plus Personal cover and an equal cash payout of Kshs 2,500 per night will be given to the subscriber in case any of his/her dependants (a registered spouse and children who are under 18 years are hospitalized for three nights and above through the Riziki Plus Family Cover.

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Barclays Bank launches mobile money service Barclays Bank of Kenya has partnered with Safaricom Plc to launch a new financial selfservice channel dubbed Timiza Mobile app. Through the Timiza app, Safaricom users can acquire various services that include access to quick mobile loans of up to Sh150,000 at an interest rate of 6.7 percent. Barclays Bank Kenya’s Managing Director Jeremy Awori says the service is out to solve hurdles that young people, especially entrepreneurs, face when it comes to managing their finances. “Timiza loans are repayable in 30 days which we consider to be quite attractive. We are hoping to tap about 5 million users in the next 5 years using this service,” Awori says. Other services offered on the app include a transactional account, utility bills payment, purchase of insurance covers and withdrawing cash from the account to M-Pesa. “Available data shows us that more that 50 percent of people want to do banking on mobile, hence the decision to launch the app,” he added. To access the service, Smartphone users only need to download the Timiza app on Google Play store while feature phone users will only need to dial *848# to access the service.

Barclays Bank Managing Director Jeremy Awori, right, during the lauch of Timiza Mobile Money service.


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Kenya Power launches ‘Ondokea Laini’

Coop Bank to pay Sh0.80 dividend per share MT. KENYA STAR

Workers at Kenya Power’s substation. The company is to start another round of demolishing structures built under electricity lines.

AGENCIES

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enya Power has launched operation ‘Ondokea Laini ‘which will entail the demolition of illegal structures that have encroached on its wayleaves in Nairobi. The operation is being carried out under the auspices of the Multi-Sectoral Consultative Committee on Unsafe Structures constituted by the government to minimize fatalities caused by collapsed buildings. An electricity wayleave is a statutory right which gives the licence holder the power to install its electricity lines and associated equipment on, over or under private land, to keep the electricity line there and to have

access to that land for the purposes of inspecting, maintaining, repairing or removing the electricity line or equipment. Speaking during the operation, Kenya Power’s Security Services Manager, Maj. Geoffrey Kigen (Rtd), said that over time, Kenya Power’s wayleaves have been encroached by a high number of squatters who have constructed illegal structures under its power lines thus compromising its ability to effectively transmit, distribute, and retail quality and reliable electricity to its customers throughout the country. “The illegal and unsafe structures not only pose a danger to the squatters in the event of an electrical accident, but also deny us the ability to maintain our pow-

er supply lines,” he added. Through Operation Ondokea Laini Kenya Power is working with a number of government agencies to address its protracted wayleaves challenges. The agencies include the Nairobi City County Government, the National Building Inspectorate, the National Construction Authority, the National Environment Management Authority, the National Disaster Management Unit, Kenya Pipeline Corporation, Kenya Railway Corporation, Water Resource Authority, and the National Police Service. The first phase of the process was carried out in Embakasi through Mukuru slums to Enterprise Road over a stretch of approximately 8 km.

Equity Leaders’ Programme scholars were visit to the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) WingstoFly and Equity Leaders’ Programme scholars were treated to a visit to the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) to learn how the stock market operates and how one can save and grow their savings/ investment through the stock market. The students’ visit was part of the Bank’s commemoration of Global Money Week 2018, an event that seeks to equip young people with the skills to make smart financial decisions. The Bank has also embarked on countrywide activities including training students and pupils on Money Matters. WingstoFly and Equity Leaders’ Programme scholars take a group photo after the end of their training session.

Cooperative Bank of Kenya has announced a dividend payment of Sh0.8 per share following a marginal drop in profit in a year it said performance was commendable in the face of long election period and interest rates capping. “The Board of Directors has recommended for approval by the AGM the payment of a dividend of Sh0.80 per every ordinary share held subject to approval by the Capital Markets Authority,” said the bank in a statement. Profit before tax of Sh16.4 billion for full year 2017 compared to Sh17.7 Billion recorded in 2016, a marginal drop of 7.3 percent despite the very challenging economic environment in the period, the bank said. Profit after tax was Sh11.4 Billion compared to Sh12.7 Billion in the previous year. “This is a very commendable performance against the backdrop of one of the most challenging operating environments that business had to contend with in the year with interest rate caps and lower economic growth in an election year,” said Gideon Muriuki, the bank’s CEO. Total assets grew to Sh386.9 billion compared to Sh351.9 Billion in the same period last year. Net loans and advances book grew to Sh253.9 billion compared to Sh236.9 billion in the same period last year. Total deposits grew by 9 percent from Sh263.6 billion to Sh287.7 billion The bank said it moved 87 percent of all customer transactions to alternative delivery channels that include an expanded 24-hour contact centre, mobile banking, 580 ATMs, internet and over 9,000 Co-op Kwa Jirani banking agents. “The Co-operative Bank Group notes that the environment for doing banking business has become progressively challenging, with the capping of interest rates and more lately the implementation of the IFRS 9 Accounting Standard. The Group will continue to leverage on the growing 7 million account-holder base, digital banking focus, the basket of innovative financial solutions, efficient delivery of services and multichannel access to retain market position and deliver business growth and profitability in the days ahead,” said Muriuki.

Coop Bank CEO Gideon Muriuki.


NEWS FEATURE

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Leadership lessons from Chief Wangu wa Makeri DR. JULIUS GATHOGO

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s we address the leadership question in the 21st century, especially about gender equation, it is critically important to recall Chief Wangu wa Makeri who reigned when Kenya was a British protectorate. Was she a mythical and/or fictitious figure who did not exist in the first place? Is she the first known woman leader in the colonial Kenya? What is the relevance of Wangu’s story in the post-colonial Kenya and the 21st century in particular? Wangu wa Makeri, born 1856 and died 1936 at 80, was just a mere Sub-Chief of Weithaga location, Fort Hall District, and formerly Mbiri District, renamed Murang’a in 1963. She was under Chief Karuri who had proposed her name to the British Protectorate Government. Wangu’s prominence started in 1901 when Karuri wa Gakure, the Paramount Chief started frequenting Makeri’s homestead on his way from Tuthu to Murang’a to consult the colonial District Commissioner. It is through these visits that Chief Karuri saw her rare leadership gifts, and subsequently requested her husband to let her take the leadership mantle as his assistant in the vast area now called Murang’a County. Her being a leader was later confirmed when her son, Muchiri, became a Chief. Born around 1856 in Gitie village to Gatuika Macharia and Wakeru, she had no formal education. As she worked on her parent’s farm as a laborer, she met her husband, Makeri wa Mbogo. Together, they raised their six children in their traditional home at Weithaga area, within the present day Murang’a county. During those days, the coming of the Chief was not a simple matter. Every village had to supply food, which they placed along the Tuthu-Murang’a road and was collected by Chief Karuri’s servants and/or lackeys. Indeed, it was mandatory for everyone to line along the roads and cheer up as the Chief passed by. The same scenario would happen when Chiefs Njega wa Gioko and Gutu wa Kibetu of the neighboring Kirinyaga were passing through a particular village. Both Wangu and Karuri were accorded similar honors. And despite lack of formal education, she went on to become the first Kenyan woman administrator. Characteristically, she was very strict on legal-social matters. At a time when gender disparities were part and parcel of the national survival, Wangu broke ranks with the patterns of the time. And since every real man had to slap, kick and ‘discipline’ his wife, wives, and children from time to time, she also had a hectic time, from time to time, disciplining men with huge punishments such as cultivating a whole acre of land, uprooting a huge stem etc. Hence, the saying, ‘Wangu sat on men.’ Fred K. Kago who first wrote that Wangu literally sat on men was largely informed by the normal bias that he grew up in. Certainly, every child, boy or girl, was trained to hate leadership under a woman. In other words, Wangu’s story was used to portray women as dictatorial while in leadership. On the contrary, Wangu proved to be the best judge in colonial Kenya; a judge who strongly held that no child, irrespective of gender, comes from the back but all are by-products of the nine-month stay in the womb (gutiri wanda na wamugongo). She may go on in history as the best Mother, Administrator, Professional, Judge, Leader and the most beautiful woman in colonial Kenya. She reportedly turned down advanc-

Wangu wa Makeri as a young woman es from the male Europeans, as she was happily married to Makeri (rejecting mipango ya kando). She was farsighted and could see Kenya in the 21st century where even parliament is seeking a 50:50 men-women sharing and membership. When the colonial government began taxing people, she ensured that the law was observed strictly. She was later described as an authoritarian tax collector, who would ‘intimidate’ tax evaders and imprison them in solitary confinement. Or was it mere destructive propaganda against women leadership? To a large extent, Chief Wangu was ahead of her time, as she fought for the justice of the girlchild when the society was against the female gender. Yes, men mocked her, teased her, schemed against her, and eventually tricked her to participate in a male Kibata dance which eventually made her resign out of shame. This was after her garments fell down as she danced. She still could dance Kanyegenyuri and muthirigu dances without getting into men’s trap of embarrassing her for invading ‘their territories.’ In a nutshell, various theories have been advanced regarding her fall from grace to grass. The first theory is that she committed the ultimate insult against local African traditions for allegedly dancing Kibata, which was an exclusive

male dance, hence her garments easily fell eventually putting into an ‘irredeemable’ embarrassment. Other theories have advanced the view that it was purely a male warrior’s dance that Wangu should not have stubbornly joined despite its appealing nature. Third, she hurt the Kikuyu ‘gods’, and indeed the traditional pantheons, for breaking the traditions hence the ‘mighty fall’ – a fall that sent shockwaves to the entire nation. Fourth, some theories have it that the Paramount Chief Karuri nominated her in as early as 1902 following the creation of Mbiri District (later called Fort Hall) in 1901. This however appears logical as the establishment of Karuri as a Paramount Chief comes as early as 1900 when he visited the present day Kikuyu Division of Kiambu County and requested Church Mission Society (Anglican missions) to visit his home village Tuthu to start a school. This took place in 1903. Further, some theorists have advanced the fall of Chief Wangu wa Makeri as that which took place on 2 to 4 June 1909 hence the theory that she ruled for only 7 years. Another theory is that the fall happened in 1924 and that she began ruling in 1915 meaning that she ruled for 9 years. The former is more logical in that her fall could

have been prompted by the advancing age of her boss, the Paramount Chief Karuri wa Gakure who died on 16 May 1916, at the age of 76. Such embarrassment did not however detract her; as she went on to live to the age of 80 and finally succumbed to death in 1936. It is unfortunate that Wangu was not replaced by another woman Sub-Chief but by a man called Ikai wa Gathimba. Clearly, she reigned as a woman leader even before people had been taught about cultural change and women leadership hence people were not psychologically prepared for it. Nevertheless, her pioneering role remains a critical moment in our history. She goes in the annals of history as the pioneer African woman crusader of justice for all gender. Or did she just step aside only to go forever never to return in that prestigious post? As she insisted, justice should role down to all like a mighty Sagana River, her concern for inclusive justice remains relevant to date. As men get battered by their spouses, some people have been heard saying that the spirit of Wangu wa Makeri has come back to haunt central Kenya. But woe unto them, as they have missed the point! She did not clobber her husband, Makeri wa Mbogo! Nor did she clobber her boss, Senior Chief Karuri wa Gakure (1840-1916). Nor did she clobber those who were spreading destructive gossips about her relationship with her Administrative Senior; nor did she harbor bitterness. She displayed traits of a good leader. She, on the contrary, professionalized local Administration despite her lack of formal schooling. What a Great Kenyan woman leader!. Of importance to note, as we conclude, is that Wangu wa Makeri ruled as a Sub-Chief for only 7 years, from 1902 to 1909, as she was enticed with the more explosive Kibata dance that eventually put her into ridicule; hence her premature resignation. Considering that she was the first wife of Makeri wa Mbogo, and the most trusted one, she must have been thankful to him for helping her make history. Indeed, it was her husband who allowed her to take the leadership mantle in those dark days of cultural stringencies. Despite being rich in terms of livestock, Makeri wa Mbogo still allowed her to deputize the Paramount Chief rather than nominate himself or forcefully swear himself into leadership. Makeri wa Mbogo accorded her every support needed. She gave birth to six children, one of whom became a Chief, in following her genes. With permission from Chief Karuri, she gave land to the present day Weithaga Anglican parish, as Chiefs were land custodians hence she supported Christian missions in their initial stages. The area now has several schools, boasts of educated leaders and professionals such the first Kenyan PhD holder (Dr Julius Gikonyo Kiano), and indeed set pace in central Kenya and the East African region. It is here in Weithaga where the pioneer CMS Missionary in Central Kenya (Arthur Wallace McGregor) set up a school, a maternity in 1905, modern office and a permanent house which exists today (in 2018) among other things. A visit to the area on 8 November 2017 showed me great archival information and artifacts that affirmed the greatness of her leadership. Wangu wa Makeri is certainly a great leader who challenges us to make little contributions in our respective domains, and eventually please our maker. As we navigate through the vicissitudes of the 21st century, Wangu wa Makeri’s pioneering role as a fair judge, fearless judge, a leader, and a great mother reappears!


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ENTERTAINMENT

I ISSUE 39, 2018

Waithera Gitau; My dream is to have a clothing line and brand NJOROGE KABURO

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ell us who is Waithera in a but shell? Waithera gitau is a model, an upcoming designer and the current Miss Kirinyaga University. When did you start modeling? I started modeling two years ago during pageantry at our high school. Who inspired you to model? I always wanted to model since I was young, but I got a push from my two friends and now here I am.

embrace fashion? They are so rigid, though some are trying. Who is your role model? I know she doesn’t know this but her hard work and determination makes me admire her. She is my manager, a mom and is so talented; Jackline Kinyua. Where do you see yourself in ten years? One thing for sure I will have a brand. And a cloth line.

Do you think modeling pays? Yes, modeling pays. We have commercial models currently which are currently a career in Kenya.

Has fashion and modeling been fully exploited in Kenya? Very. Modeling has been commercialized also designing is a career to many. Most dress presenters and celebs.

What challenges come with this career? Finances majorly, and still the perspective of the community. They aren’t s receptive to it as a career.

How do you compare the industry’s’ pace of growth? Fast, people are adapting real fast.

You are also a fashion designer, tell us more? Coming up with designs of my own has always been a dream of mine. So recently I came up with a few designs that I show cased during a fashion gala. According to the feedback I got they were quite satisfied with what they had. Am looking forward to coming up with more designs sooner especially for the plus size ladies. Do you think people in Kirinyaga

Which organizations have you worked for? I have not worked for any, but I have worked with elevated arts professionals during their fashion gala twice and I have to say it has awesome the both times. What is your life mantra? Always work hard and remember to have good intentions. Hobbies? Designing, cooking and watching.

How to start a fashion business in Kenya KENYAYOTE.COM

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he fashion industry in Kenya has taken an upward trend ever since the 1990’s. It is evident that fashion trends have been evolving very fast if not daily. Because of this, we now have a number of bloggers writing on the latest fashion trends and also advising on what to wear when and how to wear what. For anyone who wants to venture into the fashion business, it is highly important to take note of the following pointers to keep up with the market trends and be successful.

Do your research In a place where trends are evolving overnight, you should take note of what category of fashion you want to venture in. Try to venture into something exciting but not common. Choose your audience You will need to decide who you would like to sell to. For instance, if you are specific to an age group, let’s say the teenagers or youth, know what they like the most. Again try and understand the reason towards their liking; is it comfortability or style or even affordability. With this knowledge you will be able to source your supply from the perfectionists while

also avoid going through losses at the end.

Develop your fashion line Always try to stand out of the crowd. Have this one item that speaks millions about you as a business. For instance, if your main item is ‘Hareem Pants’, let all your hareem pant designs speak for themselves. A buyer should go online and search for Hareem Pants by so and so and get what they want. This makes your business accessible because it will be marketing itself by standing out. Choose your employees from the best This is a very important move because these are the people driving the business. If you are to have tailors, get the best that you can. You can never go wrong with the perfect team. This also applies to your fabric suppliers. Always handpick your fabrics to avoid disappointments at the end of a project. Preach what you are It is important to note that you are your brand ambassador. Therefore, always have your designs on you most of the time. By doing this, you will be advertising your business effortlessly. With these points taken, your fashion line should be ready to go.

Fashion design models in Kenya.


NEWS FEATURE/SPORTS

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SPORTS

Lukaku joins MU scorers elite club

MACHESTER UNITED

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omelu Lukaku’s opening goal in Manchester United’s 2-0 Emirates FA Cup win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday was the striker’s 25th across all competitions, in what is becoming an increasingly impressive debut season at Old Trafford. It means the Belgium international has become just the eighth United player to reach that milestone in their first campaign at the club, which hoists him alongside notable alumni like Denis Law, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Dwight Yorke. Following his switch from Everton last summer, the 24-year-old has wasted little time in endearing himself to the Old Trafford faithful, converting on his club debut in the UEFA Super Cup, Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup. And with a potential 10 games still remaining during 2017/18, there’s plenty of time for our no.9 to improve on what has already been an outstanding season. But how many more strikes does Lukaku require to post the most prolific debut season in United history? To find out, we took a look at the seven other players to reach the hallowed 25-goal mark during their very first term in red… RUUD VAN NISTELROOY (36 goals, 2001/02) No striker in the club’s history has made an impact as explosive as Ruud van Nistelrooy and, incredibly, his 36goal debut season came after a year spent on the sidelines, following a cruciate knee-ligament injury. Such a setback has proven terminal to the fledgling careers of plenty of footballers, but not Ruud. United had attempted to sign him in the summer of 2000, but the move fell through due to a failed medical and that traumatic injury, but Sir Alex Ferguson would not be deterred. He kept in touch with the PSV Eindhoven forward and, a year later, van Nistelrooy arrived – and what havoc he would wreak upon the defences of England and Europe. His best season in M16 was his second,

where he smuggled, blasted and poached 44 goals – propelling the Reds to the 2002/03 title – and he would reach 100 United strikes in just 131 games, but who can forget that first rampaging campaign? Those 36 goals represent the best achieved by a United player in their first season at the club. BRIAN MCCLAIR (31 goals, 1987/88) As sensational as the first sightings of Ruud in a red shirt were, he joined a team that had just won the title for a third consecutive season. A cursory glance at the midfield behind him on any given Saturday would have revealed one, if not all, of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Juan Sebastian Veron. Ammunition was not in short supply. By contrast, when Brian McClair rocked up in the summer of 1987, United had just finished 11th in Division One.

No player had reached 25 goals in a season for the club since George Best in 1971/72. But the man soon to be affectionately known as ‘Choccy’ claimed 31 goals after transferring from Celtic, helping United reach second spot in the league. He would go on to play a key role in the trophy-laden seasons that followed during the 1990s, but his first months at the club were vital in helping then-new manager Ferguson demonstrate some early signs of progress. ROBIN VAN PERSIE (30 goals, 2012/13) If Choccy was Sir Alex’s first striking superstar, Robin van Persie was his last. Few players in football history are so influential that an entire championship is associated with their name, but the former Arsenal man’s impact on United’s 20th league title was ex-

Romelu Lukaku. MU’s top scorer.

traordinary. After losing the 2011/12 title to Manchester City on goal difference, Ferguson knew the Reds needed a spark to reignite the team’s confidence and van Persie’s goals instantaneously lit a fire that burned throughout the entire season. The title was clinched by 11 points and, in league terms, the Netherlands striker’s 26 goals is the best supplied by a player in their first season at the club. Sadly, the Dutchman was unable to replicate his blistering first 12 months in Manchester, but he left for Fenerbahce in 2015 having scored a very healthy 58 times in 105 appearances. DWIGHT YORKE (29 goals, 1998/99) The greatest season in the club’s history is now largely remembered through the prism of a manic 11-day period in which United sealed an unprecedented Treble, with wins over Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Bayern Munich. Dwight Yorke failed to score in each of those three critical matches but, put simply, United would have been nowhere near a clean sweep of the three greatest trophies available to them if not for the Tobagonian’s contribution. His gleeful rapport with striking partner Andy Cole fuelled the Treble tilt throughout the less glamorous autumn and winter months, laying the platform for the unforgettable climax in Barcelona provided by Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Yorke’s goals were varied in style – encompassing impudent chips, diving headers and tap-ins – but his intelligence and enthusiasm were a nightmare for defences and a delight for team-mates. His first year at United would remain his best, but he won the title in each of his three full seasons at the club, finishing with 66 goals in 152 games.

making up the numbers and, of all the players in this elite club, Denis Law’s appearance is perhaps the least surprising. Matt Busby parted with a world-record fee to snare Law from Torino, and the man from Aberdeen was the first of United’s ‘Holy Trinity’ to win the Ballon d’Or. His unsurprisingly excellent first term culminated in the 1963 FA Cup final against Leicester City. Law opened the scoring with his 29th and final goal of the season, paving the way to the club’s first post-Munich trophy. The following campaign, he blitzed 46 goals, which is still the most prolific season by an individual in United history. He would fail to reach 25 in just one of his first five seasons (falling one short in 1965/66) and his 237 career goals for United place him third in the club’s all-time goalscorers list. Of the top 10, only Dennis Viollet boasts a better scoring ratio than ‘The Lawman’. ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC (28 goals, 2016/17) Frustratingly, we’ll never know just how many goals the iconic Zlatan Ibrahimovic might have mustered in his first season at Old Trafford. The Swede was felled by a traumatic knee injury with 10 games of United’s successful 2016/17 campaign still remaining, after bagging 28 goals in 46 matches. Zlatan has been restricted to just seven appearances thus far this

campaign – adding one further goal to his United tally – but his input during a season in which United claimed the League Cup and the Europa League ensures his career at Old Trafford will always be remembered fondly as he proved, as predicted, that he would continue to show his class in England. JACK PICKEN (25 goals, 1905/06) The least known member of the first-season 25 club that Lukaku joined with his goal against Brighton was also its first member. Scotsman Jack Picken was signed from Plymouth Argyle in the summer of 1905, and notched 20 league goals and five FA Cup strikes during his maiden season at United. He would eventually lose his place in the first team due to the emergence of Sandy Turnbull, who would trump Picken’s 25 goals with a then-club record 27 in 1907/08. Incidentally, Turnbull joined midway through the preceding campaign, which means, like Eric Cantona after him (25 goals in 1993/94), he earns honorary membership for reaching our milestone during the first full season he spent at the club. Can Lukaku overhaul van Nistelrooy, McClair, Van Persie and the rest? With 10 goals since the turn of the year, we’re not willing to bet against United’s in-form no.9…

Nyeri first to receives SportPesa kits

DENIS LAW (29 goals, 1962/63) You don’t earn a moniker like ‘The King’ for trundling around the pitch

Darts action staged in Sagana LENNAH WAMBUI

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ou can be a master of arts, but can you master the darts? That is the question that over 150 players who took part in the Kenya National Darts Association singles games in Sagana were asking one another. The participants were all eager to take part in the indoor sports which is an advantage due to the heavy rains that we are experiencing all over the country. The Makathimo Cup attracted all the top seeds of both genders. The action got underway on Saturday the 24th of March and lasted through to the finals on Sunday the 25th. “This competition is invariably a tournament that can make or break a career because it provides the platform for future success giving us confidence that we can compete with the world’s best,” said Pascalina Mueni, the Public Relations Officer of the darts Association, Nairobi County. The event was held at Chakaka Hotel, Sagana in Kirinyaga County. The men top seeds whom everyone had bet on to win the tournament were Ibrahim Abuja of Magereza

and Peter Wanjie of the Administration Police Training College. The women top seeds were Selina Sakawa of Communications Authority of Kenya and Rosemary Wangui of Blue Triangle; though when it comes to the game, the best one has to win and the predictions can be wrong because the best player gets beaten at their own game. Ibrahim Abuja won the tournament 5-1 and beat Lincoln Munyi. In the Ladies category Ann Wairimu of Blue Triangle beat Selina Sakawa 5-1. Francis Thuo emerged the highest finisher with 148 marks and Benjamin Daimoi the highest scorer hitting 180*6. In the ladies category, the highest finisher was Ann Machira with 133 marks and Beneka Mwololo the highest scorer hitting 180*2. This was the third tournament organized by the association this year. The first tournament was held in Kiambu County, the second in Tharaka- Nithi whereas the next tournament will take place in Isiolo on the 7th-8th April 2018. “The tournament is usually a good venture because the players are from all over the country and they get to interact and learn from the best,” said Mueni.

Kits for Africa is an initiative by SportPesa and its international football partners. MT. KENYA STAR

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Peter Wanjie of Aministration Police Training College in action at Sagana darts tournament

rassroot football teams in Nyeri will become the first beneficiaries of an assortment of playing kits from Europe under the Kits for Africa initiative by SportPesa and its international football partners. The project which was launched in 2016 by SportPesa in partnership with Hull City, Everton FC and Southampton FC involves donation of football kits by communities allied to the English Clubs for distribution to grassroot teams in East Africa. This Saturday, six teams in Nyeri will be the first to get the kits this year after which the distribution will be extended to other counties. “This is one of the many pro-

grammes we are implementing as part of our goal to develop grassroots football in East Africa,” said SportPesa’s Head of Marketing Kelvin Twissa. “There are many grassroot teams in the estates and counties that are so dedicated to the game of football despite lacking proper kits. We are reaching out to some of these teams with this project, to give them support to soar to greater heights,” he added. Aside from donating kits, SportPesa will also take its state-of-theart Live Viewing truck to Nyeri residents, giving the public a front-row fan experience to matches such as Barcelona versus Atletico Madrid on Sunday March 4 and Everton versus Burnley which kicks off at 3.30pm on Saturday.


PUBLISHERS

NAIROBI

ISSUE 39, 2018

www.mtkenyastar.com

KSh30

THE BIG FOUR

Understanding the Big Four; Food Security “Under my big four plan, for the same amount of money you pay today as rent, you will be able to own your home, and it will be a decent house, built to modern standards.”

CONTD. FROM PAGE 26

more and sell more. Food will become cheaper and more of it will be processed for export and local consumption enabling farmers to earn more from their produce. The fourth target is to increase the number of affordable houses for Kenyans. President Kenyatta plans that this initiative should deliver new 1.6 million houses. The need for new houses in Kenya has never been met because of the high cost of houses. Opening a house empowers a person to use the money otherwise spent on paying rent for other economic activities. In this issue, we bring you graphic presentation of the Food Security agenda of The Big Four. The graphics allow you as a reader to have an easy understanding of this initiative and find ways in which you can participate and support it.

<< President Kenyatta drives a farming tractor at Galana Kulalu farm in Tana River.

FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY

New and innovative initiatives that will drive 100% food and nutrition security over the next five years

Target 2018

Focus areas

Details

3

Contract farmers for Strategic Food Reserve and other commercial off-takers

300,000 Bags

Redesign subsidy model to maximize impact by focusing on specific farmer needs (flexible voucher and incentive based model)

New Model in place & piloted

Secure investments through PPP in post-harvest handling (storage, cold storage for fish, aggregation) and market distribution infrastructure to reduce losses (by Dec 2018)

2 seed potato stores 1 potato ware store 3 fish storage

Eliminate multiple levies across counties in the agriculture value chain (enforce laws on roads)

Roads levy enforced

Reduce cost of food

“As part of the big four, our tea, coffee, meat, fruits and vegetables will be processed locally. This way, we will obtain more value from our produce, and create more jobs and wealth for kenyans.”

FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY

FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY

New and innovative initiatives that will drive 100% food and nutrition security over the next five years Focus areas 1

Enhance large scale production

  

2

▪ ▪

Drive small holder productivity

▪ ▪

1

Place additional 700,000 Acres through PPP (including idle arable land) under maize, potato, rice, cotton, aquaculture and feeds production. Form an Agriculture and Irrigation Sector Working Group (AISWAG) to provide coordination for irrigated Agriculture Use locally blended fertilizer on a 50/50 basis and implement liming e.g maize. Avail incentives for post-harvest technologies to reduce postharvest losses from 20% to 15% e.g waive duty on cereal drying equipment, hematic bags, grain cocoons/silos, fishing and aquaculture equipment and feed Establish 1,000 targeted production level SMEs using a performance based incentive model in the entire value chain Improve access to credit/input for farmers through Warehouse Receipt System and strengthen commodity fund Establish commercialized feed systems for livestock, fish, poultry and piggery to revolutionize feed regime and traceability of animals Establish East Africa’s Premier food hub, secure investors to construct a Shipyard (in 2018 – site existing) and increase domestic fishing fleet by 68 Vessels in the Coast.

Enhance large scale production

New land under irrigation

▪ ▪

2.76 Million bags (52,000 Acres)

▪ ▪

Contract farming for SFR & commercial off-take

March

Post Harvest Technologies

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

Target 2018

Detailed Initiatives 

The support required to drive these initiatives

1 Million bags 2 Million (Maize)

2

10 PPPs negotiated & actioned 1 Foodhub Investors secured 10 fleets in place

Cold Storage for fish, produce and seed

Idle Public land availability

▪ ▪

Phytosanitary and standards (Potatoes) Enforce all critical agricultural regulations

▪ 3

▪ ▪

▪ ▪

PPP Framework (Treasury) Blending, PPP Unit support (Treasury), Liming legislation, (Attorney General) Duty Waiver - including duty free on Farm Equipment cereal drying equipment, hematic bags, grain cocoons/silos and feeds (Treasury) PPP Framework (Treasury) Land from Regional Development Authorities (RDAs) ADC and KALRO: Land Use legislation, land bank (Min. of Lands, Attorney General) 12 KEBs to develop new standards (Ministry of Industrialization) Gazette Crop regulations (coffee, tea, sugar, pyrethrum, cotton), enforce marine fisheries regulations and Fisheries ACT (30% landing) (Att General)

Drive small holder productivity and agro-processing

▪ Establish 1,000 targeted production level SMEs ▪ Revolutionize feed regime

200SMEs by December 500K farmers access credit

Locally Blended Fertilizer – 50% and Lime of 250,000 Acres in TranzNzoia

40,000 Acres from Bura, Hola, Galana (Min. of Water) Legislation on irrigated land under every constituency, and legislation to halt sub-division of land (Attorney General)

Enforce regulations and legislation

Reduce cost of food

Affordable Energy

Tax Reduction / Relief

▪ ▪

Incentives for Storage, aggregation Market Infrastructure & distribution

▪ ▪ ▪

Strengthen Commodity fund & special incentives for SMEs (Indust/Treasury)

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

50% Cost Reduction on Power, levies on Ag. Fuels (Min. Energy) Availing power to production units (Min. Energy) Investment in Renewable energy - PPP (Treasury) Duty Waiver - farm equipment/machinery, cereal dryers, hermatic bags, grain cocoons/silos, fishing and aquaculture equipment, and feeds (Treasury)

▪ ▪

PPP Unit Support (Treasury), Cooperative Model (Industr.)

Duty waiver on all feed inputs (Treasury) 8 Crop sub-sector regulation, Food and Nutrition Security Bill 2014 and Warehouse Receipt Bill 2016 (Attorney General)

Roads in the ASAL Regions (Infras.), ICT capacity for farmers and distributors, ICT Infrastructure to improve connectivity (Min.of ICT) Enforce legislation on roads to curb multiple levies (AG/Min.of Infras.) 13

Mt KENYA STAR newspaper is published monthly by Mt. KENYA STAR PUBLISHERS. 11 Suite 101, Sunrise Valley Estate, off-Eastern Bypass, Nairobi. Other contacts: 0722214261/ 0722792810. Email: editor@mtkenyastar.com

MT. KENYA STAR ISSUE 39  

Monthly newspaper for Mt. Kenya region.

MT. KENYA STAR ISSUE 39  

Monthly newspaper for Mt. Kenya region.

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