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    Garlic onions. Garlic is preferred in organic farming because it is reportedly effective against a wide range of disease-causing pathogens and insects.

    Farmers who grow garlic type of onions can fight over ten pests and diseases linked to destruction of crops which may cause big losses on the farmers’ farms.

    Garlic is among other crops which has ability to fight pests and diseases. It has an anti-feedant (insect stop feeding), bacterial, fungicidal, insecticidal, nematicidal and repellent properties according to Infonet-Biovision organization which provides agricultural database with scientific and practical validated information and knowledge.

    It is for this reason garlic is widely cultivated and easy to grow in field, garden or backyard and appreciated as a seasoning or suppliment for cooking owing its medicinal properties.

    READ ALSO:  Garlic farming and marketing

    READ ALSO: Onions stop tomato aphids attack

    READ ALSO: Organic fertiliser doubles onions, helps farmer penetrate new market

    Unlike commercial pesticides which are harmful to human and animals, garlic is preferred in organic farming because it is reportedly effective against a wide range of disease-causing pathogens and insects at different stages in their life cycle.

    These pests and diseases include ants, aphids, armyworms, diamondback moth and other caterpillars such as the false codling moth, pulse beetle, whitefly, wireworm, khapra beetle, mice, mites, moles, Epilachna beetles, and termites as well as fungi bacteria and nematodes.

    However, according to agro-experts, garlic should be used with caution because it has a broad-spectrum effect and can kill beneficial insects as well.

    In case a farmer is growing garlic for pest control, it is good for him or her to avoid using large amounts of fertilizer because much fertilizer can reduce the concentration of the effective substances in the garlic.

    Garlic, unlike other niche market crops, is not hard to grow because there are a few important requirements that can be easily met which include well drained soil of pH between 6.5 to 6.7.


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    A maize plant infected by the maize lethal necrosis disease (PIC: Daily Monitor)

    Farmers grappling with maize lethal necrosis disease can now control the disease through an online portal that provides up-to-date information and surveillance on how to stop it.

    Maize Lethal Necrosis was first reported in Kenya in 2011 and has since then been reported in several countries in Eastern Africa, especially the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

    The maize lethal necrosis disease has caused losses worth millions of dollars for farmers and seed companies in the affected regions in sub-Saharan Africa, where maize is both a food and cash crop.

    It is also affects food consumers since farmers have no maize crop to release to the market. This therefore calls for urgent need to find a sustainable and widely applicable solution as key stakeholders,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

    READ ALSO: Farmer turns to short season maize to escape lethal necrosis disease

    READ ALSO: New products to tame lethal necrosis set for market

    READ ALSO: Farmers hopeful as scientists close to finding maize lethal necrosis resistant seeds

    The online portal, found at, details the spread of MLN, where the disease has been managed and controlled, and how to identify it in the field. It also provides key MLN publications, surveillance software, MLN incidence maps, and information on the MLN Screening Facility, and MLN-tolerant hybrids that are either released or in pipeline.

    The MLN portal enables researchers to comprehensively assess the situation with regard to MLN, helps strengthen the national disease monitoring and diagnostic systems by providing faster and accurate data, and offers access to CIMMYT-offered MLN phenotyping services.

    Some of notable symptoms of this virus in maize include mild severe mottling on the leaves, usually starting from the base of young leaves in the whorl and extending upwards towards the leaf tips.

    Drying of thee leaf margins that progress to the mid-rib and eventually the entire leaf can also signify MNL attack. Necrosis (drying) of young leaves in the whorl before expansion, leading to a symptom known as “dead heart” and eventually plant death.

    Additional information obtained from KALRO Website 

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    A farmer harvesting beans 

    Many smallholder farmers are grappling with post-harvest losses of their beans due to poor storage and attack by pests such as bean bruchids (grain weevils).

    The bean bruchid is a major pest of stored beans. The damage caused by the pest has a negative impact on the value and marketability of the crop and can even change some quality characteristics of the crop, including the taste.

     The holes made by the larvae often make the crop unmarketable. Losses of up to 40% of the harvested crop have been reported in some places like Machakos County.

    Bruchids feed within the bean, leaving beans with many holes and low weight.

    According to Kenya Agricultural Research Organization, Bruchids can be controlled by:

    1. Mixing 2 match boxes full of Actellic Super with a 90 kg bag of bean grain. Actellic super can be obtained at certified Agro-vets in various towns and shopping centers in Kenya at between Ksh. 120 to Ksh. 1,000 depending on quantity.
    2. Mixing the dry bean grain with wood ash at 5 kg of ash per 90 kg bag of beans.
    3. Mixing a teaspoon of corn oil like Elianto per 1 kg kimbo tin of grain.
    4. Sunning and sieving: 

    READ ALSO: Farmer boosts maize nutrition with soy beans

    READ ALSO: KALRO releases drought tolerant beans

    READ ALSO: Bidco desperately looking for farmers to grow sunflower and soya beans

    If you have 1 or 2 bags of beans and you live in a sunny area, sunning and sieving kills the eggs and larvae and makes the adults fly away.To use this method do the following:

    • Spread out the beans on a mat under the sun for about 6 hours.
    • After sunning the beans sieve them using an ordinary kitchen wire sieve or use a flat tin sheet with holes punched in it. This cuts down on costs.
    • During the first 3 months after harvest, sieve the beans once every 2 weeks. After 3 months, sieve the beans once every 3 weeks.

     Farmers in Machakos found sunning and sieving to be the best control method because storage loss is reduced by killing the pests’ eggs. It allows farmers to save money as the method uses natural means. By sunning and sieving, the beans are not harmed or damaged and they will germinate well. The vigor of the small bean plant is also not affected. The beans thus stay clean and taste nice and there is no risk of poisoning from insecticide.



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