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    High Yield

    By the year 2050, Kenya alone will have a population of 56 million working people. The majority of this number will be women and youth.

    This projection introduces a new challenge of feeding Kenyans sufficiently to prevent hunger and food insecurity.

    Without satisfactory organization and good planning mechanisms to encourage food security, the perennial twin problems of food insecurity and hunger will continue to plague the country. In addition, low diversity of crops in Kenya’s food supply increasingly contributes to low nutrition and stunting. An estimated 35% of Kenyan children under the age of 5 are stunted. This has significant negative implications for their future ability to learn, and become productive members of society.
    Increasing Kenya’s food production is the best way to feed our growing population, and to properly and adequately tackle the problem of food insecurity.
    Farmers’ Plight
    Many Kenyan farmers are unaware of new and modern varieties of crop seed that have been bred by local Kenyan breeders for the changing climate conditions and that can produce much higher yields. Even in cases when farmers know of the new seed varieties he/she needs, they often find that their agrodealers do not stock a wide selection of varieties and many times cannot access the new varieties.
    Because of this, farmers have had to fall back on the portion of their harvests that they habitually set aside for the next planting season, commonly called “recycled seed”.
    Endless recycling of seeds has been found to be one of the reasons why Kenyan farmers continue to achieve low yields year in and year out. To combat this, farmers are encouraged to embrace the use of modern varieties of certified seed, and to regularly purchase fresh seed.
    MbeguChoice’s timely entry
    This is where MbeguChoice comes in. MbeguChoice was developed to bridge the information gap that exists between seed breeders and Kenyan farmers.
    MbeguChoice is an online tool that provides information on the wide range of certified crop seed varieties that are available to farmers in Kenya. In addition, it allows users to search the crop seed varieties with the attributes that they desire the most and that are best suited for their region.
    For example, farmers who want sorghum seed with attributes such as early maturity and drought tolerance will get information on which varieties best suit them and will work best on their farm. They will also learn which seed companies produce seed of these varieties.
    With this information, MbeguChoice is also very helpful for Agrodealers. Agrodealers now have an easy way to choose the best crop seed varieties to stock, with information of the newest releases and those that are best suited to their sales regions. It also informs them which seed companies (suppliers) they should contact, in an effort to make sourcing as easy as possible.
    Unless we improve access to crop seed variety information and increase availability of these seeds to farmers, the country will be facing even more severe food insecurity.
    MbeguChoice provides a big part of the solution, by being the best place to get complete crop seed variety information. Farmers, agrodealers and extension workers now have an easy way to identify the new and modern crop varieties that will deliver increased yields for Kenya’s farmers.

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    A farmer who found money in guinea fowl he was rearing as flower-birds is plunging in full swing into poultry agribusiness after earning more than Sh100,000 in a few months.

    Allan Mwangi says many people have been coming-more than four months after exhausting his stock-with more others calling to make orders.

    From the 10 guinea fowls he bought in 2014 to rear as beauty birds, he managed to increase them to 64, hence the call to destock.

     “I am so excited by the money I made out of the birds I bought as pets. I sold 44 birds, with a pair selling at Sh5,000. More other customers are going away with money. I have learnt that there is a lot of money hidden in the feathers of these pets,” he say.

    In total, he earned Sh110,000.

    Mwangi retained 20 guinea fowls, which he intends to use as breeders to raise the stock to 200 or more.

    READ ALSO: Ducks hatching for guinea fowl more profitable 

    He has already bought five turkeys, besides kuroiler chickens which he has been breeding. He is also eying ostriches, for which he would need a Kenya Wildlife license similar to that of the fowls.

    For one to rear game animals, they must obtain a permit from the KWS.

     “I have done my research well. High end-hotels are salivating for game meat. Since the supply is low, therefore, penetrating this market would be easy. It would give me an extra coin besides my formal employment,” he said

    Out of the initial stock he got 12 or 13 eggs per week, although incubation let him down with only seven or eight successful hatching. At the end he had 54 keens in three months.

    He sells kuroiler chicks at Sh100.

    He can be reached on +254722539335

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    Butterfly rearing can earn a farmer more than Sh70,000 in a month as demand for the insects int the export market remains high as well as local tourism.

    Europe and USA have been the main export destinations for pupae and butterfly from Kenya.

    Butterflies cost about Sh70 while pupae earn farmers Sh30.

    Pupae are at transitional growth stages of the butterfly between hatched larvae and an adult. Depending on the species of a butterfly, the insects live for about one month within which an individual can lay up to 1,000 eggs.

    A farmer who raises such hatched larvae to maturity within the next one month they can earn Sh70,000.

    Mombasa-based Kipepeo Project buys the butterflies for export. Besides being an Arabuko Sokoke Forest conservation plan, more than 100,000 farmers are benefiting directly from the project.

    In other places like the National Museums of Kenya, they are a local and international tourist attraction pets.

    Richard Bennet of Kilifi County’s Mida Butterfly Farm says more farmers from various parts of the country could provide consistent market if they delved into this farming.

    For one success in rearing these insects, they need to go for training at the National Museums Kenya.

    A farmer starts by catching a few female butterflies which will be confined in a special room where they will lay eggs for hatching.Once the breeding place is set up the butterflies are introduced and they will lay eggs before they hatch into larvae.

    Larvae moult into pupae, which can be exported in that stage or be left to mature to the butterfly stage for a higher cash fetch.

    Just like rearing ostriches, snails and other games, one must obtain a license from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

    The Kilifi County families are in 27 groups supporting the forest ecosystem which stretches into the Gede Ruins museums.

    After buying the insects, Kipepeo Project exports them to Japan, UK, USA, among others, accompanied by a KWS permit.

    A Kenyan tourists to Mombasa Butterfly House will pay Sh100 to enjoy the flying scenery while a child will part with Sh50. East African residents pay double that of their Kenyan counterparts.

    Adult foreigners pay Sh500 while their children will part with half the amount.

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