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    A deficiency in his immune causing muscle weakness inspired Dennis Andaye to start his own companies that offer farmers and consumers’ nontoxic and healthy food.

    “Seven years ago, I was diagnosed with Dermatomyosistis the condition was as a result of a deficiency in my immune system, this made me change my perspective on life and how food plays an important role in our health,” said Andaye.

    “Due to my health challenges, I wanted to offer people safe and nutritious food; organic foods, which have beneficial nutrients that not only build the physical but the mental needs of the body. I also wanted farmers to embrace the idea of producing food in the right way i.e. without use of chemicals, as well their lives transformed economically.”

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    Dennis Andaye

    Started in 2010 with about 10 farmers, at The Talisman in Karen, Organic Farmers Market has quickly grown to become a Centre for great food.

    Organic farming involves using fertilizers of organic origin such as compost and green manure with emphasis on practices like crop rotation and mixed farming with prohibition of synthetic fertilizers. 

    In this type of farming farmers can save on costs that would have otherwise been used to purchase chemicals for pest control. Farmers produce higher prices for their products with the use of crop rotation to produce the same kind of crop yields.

    In conventional type of farming an acre of land for planting maize for instance requires at least two bags of NPK fertilizer and two more of CAN meaning farmers can save up to Sh10,000 per acre in organic farming as compared to conventional.

    Organic farmers market has successfully provided a platform for certified organic farmers and food vendors to trade their products and make it easy for clients to access the food directly from the producers.

    By collaborating voluntarily in pursuit of a common group goal within this farmers’ market setup they are able to access knowledge and information they need to expand their capacities, to seize economic opportunities and to develop sustainable agricultural products.

    “One of the biggest challenges I have is ensuring trust and credibility is upheld. When dealing with many people one has to bring all of them together and align them towards the same goal which is every individual deserves the right to have good and clean food,” he said.

    “I want to make sure that my clients get food that is free of toxins and that the farmers and other healthy food producers in their network are in line and true to the course”

    Organic Farmers Market provides Kenya Children’s Home with produce worth Ksh. 150,000 every month, helping to give the children in their care nutritious, balanced meals.

    Andaye aspires to the day when everyone is eating organic and safe foods and farmers adopt the right production methods that do not harm the population and the environment.

    “I want to see many other healthy food businesses thrive and make money, and see consumers embrace a different approach and be more cautious, observant and appreciative of where their food is grown, how it was grown and produced,” he said.

     

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    Recent research showed that most pastoralists believe that calves collect worms from the pasture during feeding.

    Cattle calves’ diarrhea infection is a non-responsive diarrhea to treatment in suckling cattle calves. 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.

    READ ALSO: How to get a fertile cow for more milk and calves

    Some vegetation species e.g. Duosperma eremophilum are associated with worms. Further, pastoralists associate diarrhoea in suckling calves with excess milk. The cattle owners treat diarrhoea of in-house calves with antibiotics. The calves however sometimes do not recover but the diarrhoea continues and may lead to death.

    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.

    READ ALSO: Cow mattress can earn dairy farmers over Sh3,000, cut mastitis

    Treat the sick calves with a de-wormer (Use a safe, effective, metabolisable and economic de-wormer).  Ensure that the cattle calves are well restrained to avoid choking.

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

    READ ALSO: Keenly observe heat signs for successful cow fertilisation

    Treat the cow in the last trimester of pregnancy with a de-wormer. Also clean the bomas 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.

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    Over 50,000 farmers from Kenya and Uganda are set to benefit from a new breed of Napier grass that is resistant to Napier Stunt Disease which has threatened extinction of the vital forage for farmers at a time when over 80 percent of small holder dairy farmers rely on it as the main source fodder.

    Farmers in western Kenya have already started planting the disease resistant variety of Napier grass in a drive aimed at reversing the drastic cut in fodder production due to the disease which was first discovered in 1990s. The new Napier grass varieties have been identified by scientists from the International center of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in partnership with Rothamsted Research, UK, and national institutes in East Africa.

    Napier Stunt Disease was first identified in western Kenya in 1997 by ICIPE and its partner Rothamsted Research. These two organizations, funded by the US-based McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program, have led research over the last decade to combat the disease. Together with national research institutes in East Africa, scientists identified the cause of the disease, a pytoplasma bacterium, and the insect transmitting it among plants: the Maiestas banda species of leafhopper. Napier Stunt Disease is a virulent disease, sometimes killing off entire fields of the fodder crop.

    According to Professor Zeyaur Khan, icipe Principal Scientist and coordinator of the project to combat Napier Stunt Disease, the trials and testing of the two new disease resistant varieties is complete and they are now focusing to their next target. “The two disease-resistant varieties, Ouma 2 and South Africa, have already been tested in selected farmers’ fields in western Kenya.” The team of scientists plans to use farmers to help multiply the seedlings and help in distribution and adoption of the breeds in the rural families. “Our goal now is to work with these farmers to propagate the grass to others, for instance through farmers’ groups. We are also training 50 trainers of trainers, who will in turn train farmers in the fields, so they know how to care for the new varieties and how to best incorporate the new grasses into their cropping systems,” added Prof Khan.

    In East Africa, Napier grass is an important crop, with over 80 percent of smallholder dairy systems relying on it as the main source of cattle fodder in Kenya. In Uganda, it provides about 90 percent of fodder for smallholder dairies. In addition, Napier is a key component of ICIPE’S push-pull technology, which involves planting Napier grass typically around the perimeter of plantings of cereal crops, such as maize and sorghum, which are easily infested by stem borers, an insect pest. The Napier grass emits a chemical that draws (or pulls) stem borers away from food crops to what the stem borers sense will be a more inviting meal. Napier grass also helps protect soil from erosion, and is a valuable source of income for smallholder farmers in East Africa.

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