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    Uganda Cranes birds in their cage at Stedmak Gardens in Karen. The birds are among other beauty or ornamental birds kept in the garden for sale and tourists attraction.

    Stedmak Gardens in Karen which has 30 different species of beauty birds also called ornamental birds is using the birds to attract tourists other than preserving them for breeding purposes earning the garden about Sh1m annually.

    Situated along Mokoyeti Road East 500 metres off Langata Road, the garden is currently hosting over 500 beauty birds. Before the birds were just kept in the garden for purposes of preserving the species before opening up as a tourist attraction park.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Kiambu farmer making a kill with ornamental birds

    “We started in 2013 as birds’ sanctuary where we kept these birds to multiply, but of late it is one of our major business project here,” said Geofrey Maranga, the garden manager.

    “We sell our birds to small farmers starting up, charge fees from visitors who come to see them and donate the older ones to schools for student’s lessons.”

    Domestic tourists are charged Sh300 for adults and Sh200 for children while international adult tourists pay Sh1000 and Sh500 for the children. There is an offer of a group of 30 people on to pay Sh150 per child and Sh200 for an adult.

    “We receive many visitors during weekends and holidays of between 250 and 350 a day and on festive seasons this number can go up to 1000 visitors a day,” said Maranga adding that over last year December alone the park earned them about Sh2m from visitors.

    Some of the main buyers of the birds from the garden include Indians, Small farmers starting off in ornamental birds keeping, learning institutions, and peace and wedding event organizers among others.

    “Indians love our birds for pets as compared to other customers. Last year alone we sold 50-80 birds worth Sh800,000 and about 65 per cent were bought by Indians,” said Rongers Ong’ondo, assistant animal park manager.

    A pair of African grey parrots goes for 70,000 while a single such parrots fetches Sh40,000, a pair of Australian cocktail is Sh30, 000 while a single cocktail is bought at Sh20,000 just to sample a few.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Mombasa farmer rears ornamental birds on worm-diet, halfs costs

    Australian cocktails if managed well can live for over 25 years while African grey parrots can go up to 40-50 years, said Ong’ondo.


    Beauty or ornamental birds just like other birds need care especially on the feeding and vaccination aspects though they are found to consume less food than chicken for example.

    While a laying chicken requires between 120g and 150g of feeds a day an ornamental bird like bantam can consume between 60g and 80g a day.

    “We feed our birds on spinach, sunflower, white millet, maize bran, lime and fruits such as apples, pineapples, pawpaw and bananas. These feeds costs between Sh500 and Sh1,000 a week,” said Ong’ondo.

    “Other ornamental birds kept here include Strasser Pigeon, Budgerigar, French Mondain, Reverse Wings Pouter, Jacob Lion Head Pigeon, Saddle Fantail Pigeon, Saxon Shield Owl Pigeon, Indian Fantail Pigeon, Jersey Giant, Leghorn, Pekin bantam, Greylag goose, Ugandan Cranes and guinea fowls among others.”

    RELATED ARTICLE: Rare birds earn farmer Sh15million yearly

    Farming permit

    A part from pigeons, parches parrots and cocktails almost all other birds need permits from Kenya Wild Life Services (KWS) to keep.

    “Those interested in keeping these types of birds apply for permits by paying Sh1500 through their nearest local KWS warden offices,” said Maranga.

    The permit is produced within two weeks if the applicant abides with all the regulations which include ensuring the farm or farmer from whom they source the birds is also permitted and the environment where the birds are going to be kept is safe.

    “KWS officers keep visiting and checking on the birds’ affairs occasionally and those found to be maltreating the birds in any way have their permits revoked, birds released or given to other keepers.”













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    A farmer in West Pokot County has tripled his income from Sh120, 000 to Sh350, 000 per acre after growing a new onion variety, the red Tropicana F1. The variety matures in three months with a potential yield of 10 tonnes per acre.  


     Production of Kales (Sukuma wiki) and Onions Using Bucket Drip Irrigation

    Onions stop tomato aphids attack

    Fact Sheet: Making a million yearly with red onions

    Initially, David Roron and his family survived on relief food as the maize produced in his farm was not enough to sustain them. His bulb onion farm produced only 4 tonnes per acre which fetched little income due to low market prices as a result of uncoordinated marketing leading to exploitation by middlemen.

    red tropicana.jpg

    Red onions

    On average, David sold his onions at Sh20 per kilogram which was very low when compared to the selling price of Sh50 per kilogram when the season is good.

    In 2015, he purchased 500g of onion seeds from a certified seeds agent in Kapenguria town at a cost of Sh2000.

    “Onions thrive well in a place with direct sunlight and well drained soils rich in nitrogen” said David.

    “So for my farm I had to choose a location that gets plenty of sunlight where the plants would not be shaded by other crops”

    He tilled his land with the help of a tractor at a cost of Sh1500 till the soil was loose and crumbly to allow enough aeration.

    He grew the onions on a raised bed of between four to six inches wide and one inch deep. The farmer watered the plants regularly since onions have shallow roots and need water to develop bulbs.

    In every two weeks, David supplemented the plants with fish emulsion which is a high nitrogen fertilizer. A half ounce of the emulsion was added to one gallon of water and mixed thoroughly then added to the base of the plants where bulbs develop.

    “Onion farmers should however take caution not to apply excess fertilizers as this may hamper the growth of the plants” said David.

    When plants receive too much nitrogen and are "burned," they may shrivel up or have a generally dry, crispy look. Onion plants with nitrogen deficiency on the other hand look pale yellow and stunted with poor growth.

    To control weeds, David applied grass mulch which prevented unwanted plants from gaining cover. Weed control helps in avoiding competition for nutrients. The mulch however, need to be removed when the onions bulb so as to allow good air circulation.

    The most common diseases affecting onions include blight and purple blotch which David controlled by using pyrethrin.

    The bulbing process in onions begins when the ground starts to crack as the onions push away the soil. At this point, no more fertilizers should be added. When they mature, onion tops will fall over and watering should be stopped to allow dry harvesting of the plant.

    “At the harvesting stage, it is important to remove them on a sunny day, shake off excess soil and dry them in the sun for two days” said David.

    The farmer marketed his onions through the Ortum farmers’ cooperative society where onions from members are sorted, graded and aggregated. In this organized marketing, the farmer was able to sell a kilogram of the onions at Sh40 as compared to Sh20 which he earned earlier when he had joined the society.

    “From my first earnings, I constructed a good house, I paid school fees for my

    “From my first earnings, I constructed a good house and paid school fees for my children. From the subsequent ones I re-invested back in the farm, purchasing inputs on time” said David.







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    East African Maltings Ltd (EAML) has unveiled new barley seeds for Mau Narok farmers which will help them improve their production and economic life in the region.

    The unveiling of the seeds took place during the yesterday’s Sansora farms’ field day at Mau Narok which was organized by Cereal Growers Association.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Reprieve for barley farmers as exporter steps in

    The seeds which are processed at the EAML barley seeds processing plant at Molo is to ensure that farmers increase their commercial production.

    EAML Agri-business team will be working and partnering with the farmers within the Mau Narok area and throughout the East African region.

    Farmers are pre-financed annually to the tune of Sh500 million by giving them high yielding seed, fertilizer and other farm inputs on credit, which is recovered at the end of the harvest season.

    EAML plays a vital role of supplying quality brewing raw materials in the form of Malt, Barley and Sorghum to the brewing units of the Kenya Breweries Limited (EABL) group.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Barley rises as crop of choice as farmers seek new frontiers

    In both Kenya and Uganda, EAML has started to develop sorghum as an additional brewing raw material.

    The potential to grow sorghum in East Africa is high given that it thrives even in the semi-arid areas, which currently do not have significant economic activities.

    Once fully implemented, it will transform economically the regions where it will be grown according to the EAML.

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