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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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    Coastal farmers intending to avoid storage losses should store their grains in air tight containers as opposed to the normal storage bags. According to the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization crops researcher Eliud Njoroge, storage pests destroy 20-40% of grains in the coastal region after harvest because of the wet, hot and humid weather.


    Harvested maize

    Related article:Simple Method to reduce storage losses in beans

    Farmers will thus save on storage costs as airtight containers do not need pesticides or any chemicals. Initially, smallholder farmers have been using various chemicals which may be harmful to human health when used in excess. Farmers have maintain poorly ventilated stores which are unsuitable for storing grain, and this hinders proper drying of the maize and exposes it to pests and weather damage. 

    With this storage method, consumers are assured of eating healthy meals from their maize, beans or rice. Airtight containers are easy to obtain, cheap and last a long time. They keep grains dry and safe from the wet weather, they also keep seeds healthy for easy germination when farmers plant them.

    Related article:Maize Storage Quality controls for food safety

    Airtight containers are suitable for farmers with small plots and small traders who sell grains and seeds. Before storage, farmers should harvest the grain when mature and dry then shell the maize and thresh the pulses and winnow to remove unwanted materials. The grains should be dried until they rattle when shaken. It is important to observe the grains closely and if any weevils are seen dry again until they disappear. Before loading the grains into the container, dry it and ensure no wetness is seen inside the container.

    Related article:Zero Fly storage bags to reduce post harvest loses by 30%

    Cracked containers should be avoided as they let in damp air in. If you want to use grain for seed the next season then select and shell the middle bit of the cob to get top quality seed. Store the container in a cool dry place and don't leave the container open for long when you are using some grain.

    Some of the pests which can be controlled by using this storage method include weevils, moths, bean bruchids, cow pea bruchid and large grain borer.

    In the coastal region a 90 kg bag of dry maize fetches ksh. 2900 in Mombasa, while in Malindi it goes for ksh 3600. A 90 kg bag of sorghum retails at Ksh 4050 in Mombasa while the same amount earns Ksh 5,400 in Malindi.

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