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    Smallholder farmers can control cattle calves’ diarrhea, a non-responsive disease to treatment by observing hygiene, deworming and laboratory diagnosis.

    Cattle owners often treat diarrhoea of in-house calves with antibiotics. The calves however sometimes do not recover and the diarrhoea continues leading to death.

    Some vegetation species e.g. Duosperma eremophilum are associated with worms. Further, pastoralists associate diarrhea in suckling calves with excess milk. Calves are usually infected with worms from the mother. The Dormant eggs in the mother become active and larvae migrate to the mammary glands whereby in-house calves are infected after suckling milk of the infected mothers.

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    The sick calves should be treated with a de-wormer (use a safe, effective, metabolisable and economic de-wormer).  Ensure that the cattle calves are well restrained to avoid choking.

    calves Photo by fwi.co.uk.jpg

    For laboratory diagnosis collect faecal sample for examination in the laboratory. On examination, eggs of the parasite are seen on the specimen.

    Also clean the bomas (the place where cattle sleep) to avoid re-infection. It is advisable to treat new animals before introducing them to your herd. Finally, share the knowledge with other cattle owners to increase awareness of the disease in the community.

    The dairy industry in Kenya is faced with various challenges such as the high cost of milk production, low quality of raw milk delivered at the factory gate, fragmentation of supply chains and seasonality of milk supply as well as expensive farm inputs, poor animal husbandry, cattle diseases as well as poor management of dairy marketing systems. Much of this is related to low skills of farmers in dairy husbandry and fodder management and preservation.

    Recent research by the Kenya Agricultural Research and Livestock Organization showed that most pastoralists believe that calves collect worms from the pasture during feeding. The signs of the disease include diarrhea, colic-abdominal pains and colored mucus.

     

     

     

     

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    Tomato farmers in Kenya are set to benefit from the launch of a new tomato variety resistant to bacterial wilt disease thanks to Amiran Kenya, a company that deals with horticultural production.

    The variety which was launched in August 2017 also has intermediate resistance to tomato yellow leaf curl virus, mosaic virus, and fusarium wilt race one and two.

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    Tomato plants affected by bacterial wilt usually wither and die quickly without warning.  The bacteria affect plants that are cut, injured or weakened by poor transplanting, pests and other diseases.

    The Zara F1 tomato variety will be available in agro vets as from March 2018 with five grams retailing at Sh1500, 10 grams at Sh3,000, 25 grams at Sh7,000 and 50 grams at Sh14,000.

    “The optimum Zara F1 tomato variety that farmers’ can plant in an acre should be 7,000 seedlings,” said Hesbon Amukabwa a sales agronomist at Amiran.

    “This variety is a high breed with potential yields of 25 to 30 tonnes per acre with proper management practices; it can do well in Central Kenya in areas such as Mwea and Kirinyaga and in the Western Kenya region,”

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    Amiran Kenya officials train farmers in Kirinyaga on successful tomato growing. The company has introduced a tomato variety that is resistant to bacterial wilt, known as ZARA F1. PHOTO/AMIRAN

    It is an all-season variety that can be grown in both dry and rainy seasons. Its maturity period is 75-80 days depending on the prevailing weather conditions.

    The seeds are first planted in the nursery where they take a period of 21 to 30 days before transplanting in the open field.  The recommended fertilizer application is 100kg of NPK 17:17:17 fertilizer per acre at planting time with a spacing of 60 by 90cm.

    “After two to three weeks of transplanting, the tomato plants should be top dressed with two fertilizers yara mila winner and nitrabor at the ratio of 2:1 respectively,” said Amukabwa.

    “The variety has a strong, vigorous foliage cover which protects the fruits with concentrated flowering capable of reaching a height of 1.2m; it produces six to seven fruits per cluster,”

    Farmers need to check for flower abortion due attack by insects and pests so as to avoid potential fruit yield loss.

    When the fruit is ripe it attains an oval in shape with non-green shoul­ders and smooth surface with average fruit weight of 110 to 130 grams.

    Zara F1 has a very firm excellent shelf life of up to 14 days meaning farmers and consumers alike can benefit from its two week shelf life after harvesting.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    A Ugandan based scientist, Samuel Kamya, has developed a bio fertilizer using a seed bio-coating technology as a solution to combat diseases in crops wilt in tomatoes, pepper, eggplant and plants in the solanaceae family.

    The biological fertilizer is self-regenerating. This means that it's a single application fertilizer whose effects stay within the soil. By interacting with plant roots thanks to a special ingredient, the bio-fertilizer increases crop tolerance to drought. 

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    “In 2014, I had friends who were engaged in agriculture and were having trouble knowing what to do and what was happening. In some cases losses in their farms were too severe. Whole gardens were lost to wilt for example. With this magnitude of a problem, I and my team set out to develop the needed solutions,” said Kamya.

    “In 2017, this initiative led us to develop an entirely new type of biologically inspired single application fertilizer that resulted in faster crop growth, higher yields, increased tolerance to drought etc. We also developed biological fungicides for spraying. The biological fertilizer is already on market as well as a version of the fungicide,”

     

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    Kamya’s first efforts were to develop a solution that would counter ralstonia, the bacteria responsible for bacterial wilt for crops in the Solanaceae family. He achieved this through a project in which the crops showed greater resistance to soil borne diseases.

    To begin with, some farmers with Samuel’s blessings experimented with bananas to control xanthomonas and fusarium wilt diseases. The results were positive with the bio-fertilizer showing a near 95 per cent ability to protect the bananas against the two diseases. Samuel notes that with proper and thorough application procedures one can obtain 100 per cent protection. 

    He then quickly realized that this technology could also be used to harness through enzymic and organic acid action the conversion of rather unusable phosphorus into a form that a plant can utilize.

    “Remember that with chemical fertilizers; only about 20% is utilized by the plant. The rest is bound in forms that plants can't use, the rest is wasted,” said Kamya.

    The bio-fertilizer k70 was designed to unlock and solubilize any bound phosphorus into a form that any plant can use. This was achieved by tweaking the formulation to allow the plant sequester iron, convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that's usable by plants.

    By converting atmospheric nitrogen into higher forms of nitrogen such as amino acids and plant growth hormones, the bio-fertilizer increases crop growth. 

     The discovery of this drought tolerance increasing ability allowed Kamya to develop a new technology that he hopes can be used to reclaim desert like lands for agriculture. The Bio-fertilizer is now being processed into an off white powder. This will allow the fertilizer to stay longer. 

    “All that a farmer with planting material needs is open a sachet and add the fertilizer to a little water depending on the volume of seeds or planting material. He then treats the planting material by soaking it in the made bio-fertilizer solution,” said kamya.

    It takes at least 2hrs to fully activate the bio-coating activity of the bio-fertilizer although six hours is better. After this session the seeds can be planted straight away or air dried under shade if the farmer plans to plant later. 

    Direct sunshine exposure should be avoided as sun light is damaging to some of the active components in the fertilizer.

     

     

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