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    Nandi farmers have devised a new way to control the deadly foot and mouth diseases (FMD) in their livestock by using ‘kangara’, a mixture of molasses and maize flour from which chang’aa, a traditional home-brewed spirit; popular in Kenya is distilled.

    The kangara is fed to cows, goats or sheep with the virus and within four days, the livestock is cured.


    A cow affected by foot and mouth disease

    Related article: How to contain the deadly foot and mouth break-out

    In the neighboring Uasin Gishu County, more than 400 herds of cattle died within a period of three weeks following an outbreak of the foot and mouth disease in October 2017. The outbreak has so far been reported in several North Rift and Western counties including Trans Zoia, Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia and Kakamega.

    According to the statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, livestock diseases in Kenya lead to losses of more thanSh24 billion annually.  Due to this, in September 2017, Bungoma and Busia counties banned livestock trade over the disease followed by Vihiga in October which imposed quarantine in all the five sub-Counties of Emuhaya, Hamisi, Luanda, Sabatia and Vihiga. The quarantine and closure of livestock markets has affected several businesses in the region.

    Related article:Understanding the Foot and Mouth disease

    Peter Butuk, a dairy farmer in Kilibwoni division, Nandi County says six of his ten cows have so far been affected by the disease and he has incurred huge losses purchasing vaccines such as FMD which have not been effective and has a short immunity span.

    Related article:Livestock farmers to save Sh160 with cheap foot and mouth vaccine

    “I have resorted to using kangara, a trial and error preventive measure which has proved effective to my animals. I feed it to the affected cows twice a day, in the morning and in the evening and since then three of the affected cows are on their way to recovery with the rest showing signs of improvement,” said Butuk.

    The Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute (KEVEVAPI) has also introduced a new novel purified oil-based FMD vaccine which has a longer shelf life and confers a longer immunity of up to 12 months. Farmers can now protect their animals against FMD by vaccinating animals over two years old only once a year, with cattle below two years of age getting a booster six months after vaccination. A dose of this new oil-based vaccine costs Sh360. This means that farmers will make a cost saving as compared to when they used the water-based FMD vaccine, which costs Sh645.

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    Newcastle disease is the major cause of death among local chicken killing about 90 per cent of the affected birds.

    According to the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) Newcastle Disease is a major constraint to indigenous chicken productivity in Kenya and often causes 80 per cent to 100 per cent mortality in unvaccinated flocks.

    Related article: Newcastle resistant chicken breed, which also produces more eggs now in the market

    Research by KALRO acknowledges that vaccination should be done under controlled conditions, which are easy to learn and apply. Heat kills the virus, so vaccines should be kept in a cold place at 4°c (maximum period: I month), or at -20°C in a freezer (up to two years).  A vaccinated chicken will not contract Newcastle disease for six months.

    Related article:Farmers play extension officers, halving Newcastle disease and earning from it

    Chickens suffering from Newcastle disease show nervous signs, diarrhoea and die in large numbers. The disease is spread by sick birds usually brought in from the market or by other birds from the neighborhood. Visitors, dogs and wild birds can also spread the disease.

    Indigenous chicken.png

    Free range indigenous chicken

    Farmers can get vaccines from a chemist's shop or a veterinary office.  There are various types of vaccines which include I-2 ND Vaccine which is available in chemist's shops or veterinary offices.

    Chicks should be vaccinated one month after hatching. Adult birds need to be vaccinated every 6 months or 2 weeks before an expected outbreak. It is advisable to vaccinate in the evening when birds are easy to catch and only healthy birds should be given doses. Sick birds should not be vaccinated.


    • Vaccine
    • 5 ml plastic syringes
    • Disposable needles
    • 10 Cc sterile distilled water for every 100 doses
    • Plastic cool flask

    Vaccine dilution

    • Draw 4 cc of sterile water into the syringe.
    • Lift the metal cap off the vaccine bottle.
    • Pierce through the center of the rubber top.
    • Do not apply pressure because the vacuum in the bottle might suck in the water.
    • If there is no suction your needle might be blocked, or air has leaked into your vaccine bottle
    • If air has leaked into the vaccine bottle do not use it.
    • Mix water and vaccine by shaking.
    • Tear off the metal cap, remove rubber top.
    • Draw all vaccine into the syringe.
    • Put the mixture into the 6 cc distilled water.
    • Mix vaccine by shaking.
    • By now you have 10 cc vaccines ready for use.
    • Store in ice and use Within 2 hours.

    How to administer the vaccine

    • Fill syringe with 1 cc (1 ml) of the vaccine at a time.
    • Hold the syringe between your first and second fingers.
    • With your other hand secure the chicken under your arm-pit
    • Secure the head and administer a drop in each nostril or eye
    • Place the chicken away from the rest.
    • Birds of all ages receive the same amount of vaccine.
    • At the end of vaccination, count the chickens to make sure you have vaccinated all of them. • If you face any difficulty, consult your local veterinary office.
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    According to a research done by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Organization (KALRO), tomato farmers can control blossom end rot in their crops by carrying out soil analysis annually to determine calcium levels and watering of their crops regularly.

    Related article:Artificial seed germination keeps off deadly tomato diseases

    Calcium has a specific key influence on tomato fruit quality as it boosts root and leaf growth and maintains good fruit firmness and quality thereby reducing blossom end rot risks.

    Blossom end rot is a troublesome disease, familiar to most farmers who have grown tomatoes. According to KALRO crops researcher Mirima Otipa, the demand for fresh tomatoes is high both for domestic use and markets. However, tomato post-harvest losses are a threat to the harvested tomatoes. Farmers in Kenya have reported 20-30% losses due to infestation by the disease.


    A tomato fruit affected by blossom end rot disease

    Blossom end rot in tomatoes is characterized by round –brown water-soaked spots on the blossom end of the fruit. Before planting of tomatoes there is need for farmers to test soil in their farms for calcium levels 1-2 months before planting.

    Related article:New tomato variety battles wilt disease

    The seedlings should be hardened 2 weeks before transplanting. While transplanting, boost calcium levels in the soil by adding crushed egg shells (12g of eggshells/plant), bone meal (250g/hill) in the planting hole.

     After planting, the plants should be watered regularly at least three times per week to ensure an adequate amount of moisture and steady growth of the plants. To conserve soil moisture, mulching should be done using maize stover, wheat straw or dried grass. Mulching is important especially at the flowering and fruiting stage as the plants need maximum moisture for optimum yields.

    Farmers can test the soil moisture by picking and pressing soil between the fingers. If the soil particles do not stick to each other, it shows the soil is dry hence the need to initiate direct control.

    Related article:Former medical delivery man finds millions in tree tomatoes

    The tomato plants should be top-dressed with calcium ammonium nitrate (26%N) at knee high at a rate of 40kg/acre then at flowering 80kg/acre, farmers should ensure there is adequate soil moisture during application.

    As the fruits mature farmers should look out for small water-soaked sunken spots at the blossom ends of the fruits which enlarge and darken as the tomatoes grow. Spray with calcium nitrate or calcium chloride at 30g in 20 liters of water every 7-10 days until 3- 4 applications prior to onset of symptoms when fruits are about 2cm in diameter. After every 3 years, liming should be done on the farm with calcium carbonate at 150 g per m2.

    Quality fresh tomatoes in Kenya can earn farmers up to Sh. 500,000 per acre.


    • When applying fertilizers always wear protective clothing
    • Follow instructions on the label such as dosage, timing of application and maximum number of applications
    • Dispose of excess fertilizer properly to avoid aquatic contamination

    The price of a 64 kg crate of tomatoes at current market prices in various towns range from Sh. 2200 to 2500 according to Soko+, a digital commodity trading and information system, linking small scale farmers to end retailers/bulk purchasers of produce.

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