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    Maize green Osman Jumbe Mombasa ASK by Laban Robert.JPG

    Olerai Seeds Company Limited sales representative checks a maize cob for maturity during the 2016 ASK Show in Mombasa. Green maize price has triples in Mombasa. Photo by Laban Robert.

    The cost of green maize in Mombasa has tripled as the shortage for the country's staple food spreads due to the ongoing.

    Zacchary Masing’a, a maize trader at the Kongowea Market in Mombasa, said the price has risen up by more than three times in the past seven months.

    A 115kg bag filled with maize is bought at an average of Sh5,800 though at times it fluctuates between Sh5,700 and Sh6,000 depending on the supply per day.

    The cost of maize, which is the country’s staple food, has tripled since November 2016. This is attributed to low rainfall in the country, affecting even food-rich counties in the Rift valley region.

    Mombasa County neighbours Kilifi, and Kwale Counties, which have been hit by the ongoing famine alongside Tana River and Taita-Taveta.

    READ ALSO: Olerai's Tego maize matures in 75 days for fresh green market

    READ ALSO:Drought tolerant maize can yield 20 bags in three months

    READ ALSO: Farmer earns more from green maize than grains

    More than 90 per cent of the farm produce is ‘imported’ from up country and Tanzania.

    The price in Mombasa is thrice what wholesalers in Nakuru are paying for the same quantity of maize- Sh1,800.

    Masinga said when the maize in plenty, more so in the Rift Valley, the same quantity costs less than Sh1,000.

    Green maize is boiled or roasted for sale in the market streets and along the roads of major towns in the country. Roast maize, which costs Sh20 is retailing at between Sh10 and Sh40. A piece that was sold for Sh5 is costing Sh10, Masing'a said.

    But more others buy the fresh produce for mixing with beans for a delicacy commonly called pure in Swahili, githeri in Kikuyu, Nyoyo in Dholuo, eyoyo in Ekegusii among other names.

    According to Soko+, an online agribusiness pricelist source, a 115kg of green maize costs Sh2,260 in Nairobi, Sh2,520 in Kisumu and Sh2160 in Eldoret.

    The few farmers who are producing the available maize in the various part of the country including central Kenya are relying on irrigation.

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    Eggs Nakuru Laban Robert By Mary Njeri.JPG

    Farm Biz Africa Reporter Laban Robert posses with eggs being packed into an incubator in Nakuru on February 17, 2017. Fertilised eggs earn farmers more. Photo by Mary Njeri. 

    Farmers selling fertilised eggs are making almost three times more income than those relying on pure breed laying for direct consumption.

    Eggs for consumption as food on average cost Sh300 per tray. But fertilised eggs for incubation are costing as high as Sh800 per tray in with the dual purpose kuroiler fetching the highest.

    According to SokoPepe, an online marketplace, a tray of eggs in Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret,  Malindi, among others costs between Sh280 and Sh350; Kisumu and Malindi being  the lowest and highest respectively.

    Farmer Edwin Ayeicha attributes the sharp rise of the price to the fewer farmers producing fertilised eggs for the booming chicks hatching agribusiness than those for food.

    “Others consider a cock as an extra cost that needs to be replaced by a hen, which lays daily. More focus has gone to eggs for food instead of eggs for hatching. That what is causing the imbalance, therefore, the rise in price,” the Nyamira County farmer said.

     The Nyakwerema Village farmer sells kienyeji eggs at Sh15 each. This translates to Sh450 per tray. But for kuroiler, every egg costs Sh25 and therefore, a tray earns Sh750.

    Kuroiler and Rhodes island red eggs cost Sh800 per tray in Nakuru County, the same price in most parts of central Kenya region.

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    READ ALSO: Fact Sheet: How to make poultry money using incubators

    A tray of kenbro and rainbow Rooster breed fertilised eggs earns the farmers Sh650 while Kari and pure kienyeji bring in Sh750 and 550 respectively.

    A tray of fertilised kuroiler or Rhodes red eggs selling at Sh800 is 168 per cent higher than that of layers

    One cock sufficiently serves between eight and 12 chickens.  The market for pure layers is rising, but the dual purpose chickens is also picking because of the double benefits.

    To increase chances of hatching, an egg has to be fresh- less than seven days old.

    Eggs stored in closed buckets are also likely to have a low hatching percentage resulting from ‘suffocation’ due to the enclosure.

    Dirty eggs too, however fresh, have limited hatching ability because of the particles are blocking entry of fresh air for the life of the living cells.

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    Farmer displays hass avocado harvest. Pest control eases penetration into the triple paying EU market. Photo by Courtesy.

    With the expanding of the export market into the European Union after the introduction of the controlled atmosphere shipping equipment, farmers can beat chemical residue hurdle using organic methods of pest control.

    The EU market recently froze the chemical residue level from 0.2 to 0.02 parts per a million for agro-products entering member states.

    Although it can be tedious to do than the knock down chemicals, the market pays more than three times more for the avocado compared to what the farmers earn in Kenya.

    Agronomist Wycliffe Obwoge says the option of using chemicals is a ‘knock-down’ last resort that lowers the penetration into more lucrative markets.

    One of the common pests is the false codling moth larva that drills into the fruit flesh before reaching the core. Under heavy infestation, the larvae can cause up to 90 per cent losses.

    Bagging the individual fruit is the most effective way of controlling the pest although tedious and time consuming, the agronomist said.

    Bagging stops pests like the false cold month from laying eggs on the maturing fruits.

    “Protecting these fruits against pests is the start of recovering the investment and making profits. Now that more companies are exporting the fruit to the EU instead of the rational Middle East markets, limiting the chemical use is the key,” he said.

    Common avocado varieties like has and fuerte are short and, therefore, reachable from ground standing heights or stepping on stools.

    Affected fruits have to be buried in holes of more than two feet or enclosed on polythene bags to and placed under direct sunlight to die.

    READ ALSO: Manual oil extractor to save avocado farmers from losses

    READ ALSO: Controlled containers boost Kenyan avocado export market

    READ ALDO:Europe avocado demand to benefit Kenyans until August

    An avocado of about 500g costs between Sh20 and Sh30 in Nairobi.

    But when the brokers who bring the fruit to the city buy from farmers, they do so at price less than Sh5.

    Avocado harvesting season starts in March and runs until September.  Whilst hass matures from May, fuerte is ready for harvesting from March.

    More than 115 metric tonnes of avocados are produced each year, with small-holder farmers accounting for about 70 per cent.

    In 2016, shipping companies introduced CA equipment that extend the shelf-life of the avocados from seven five days to about six weeks.

    With this development, shipping avocado from Mombasa to EU, which was limited, was made possible because the fruit arrives in the market while in good shape and still raw. Extracts from neem tree are also important noncommercial chemical effectively controlling the cold month and other pests.

    The cold moth is an important pest that also attacks more than 14  fruit varieties.

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