Horticultural and grain farmers in Kenya are set to cut the costs of expenditure on pesticides and double their output with the introduction of a crop growth stimulant and fortifier that enhances the plant’s resistance to diseases and pests at a time when most commercial farmers lose out on international market due to excessive use of pesticides.
The new solution dubbed CropSIL was introduced in the Kenyan market six months ago and according to Darshna Shah from Thika Wax Works ltd, the crop enhancer has changed the fortunes of most commercial farmers. “This is the first natural solution consisting of soluble plants, silica and other micro nutrients which safe guard plants against pests and diseases as well increasing yield output through the enhancement of the fruiting process.
With this solution, we expect to impact on the farmers yields as well as quality of the output with a shift to less usage of chemicals in the field.” This spells good news especially for that horticultural sector that has recently been dealt a blow with the European ban due to excessive maximum residue levels.
Currently, the solution’s successful use among commercial farmers like East Africa is viewed as a green light for the countrywide commercialization. Darshnah explained, “We are now shifting our focus to the small holder farmers who are the backbone of the agricultural sector in Kenya. With the success story of the large scale farmers, it is more easy now to penetrate the over 80 percent of the country’s farmers who hugely contribute to food security in the country.” She explained that fighting food insecurity in the country and Africa at large need to tale a new shift with the introduction of better farming techniques and other farm accessories that advocate for increased yields from a small portion of land.
The solution’s use can be introduced either during the planting period with the inoculation of the seeds in the solution or two weeks after planting. If a farmer chooses to spray as a foliar then it is advised to conduct it after every three weeks in order to get the best results. When well applied the crops are enhanced and their immunity against disease attacks increased. “The active content accumulates in the cuticula and epidermis of leaf, thus increasing natural resistance against fungi, bacteria, virus and pest attacks. It also reduces transpiration through the leaf and optimizes water and fertilizer management in the plant,” noted Darshnah. The commercial farmers who have been using the solution have been registering increased crop yields by 30-40 percent.
CropSIL which is currently packaged in 20litres containers retails at about Sh25,000 although Darshnah explained that after their successful trials with commercial farmers, plans are under way to package it in smaller quantities. With the current market price, one litre is expected to retail at about Sh1000 a cost that is justified by the manufacturer. “One litre can spray about acre with our efficient mixing ratio of 0.2litres to 20 litres of water. The fact that CropSIL guards the plant against pest and disease attack as well as increasing yields, a farmer will save more costs that would have been use on chemical sprays plus other related inputs,” explained Darshnah. In addition, the solution has an extended shelf life of 2 years at ambient temperature and air-tight conditions away from sunlight.