News and knowhow for farmers

Loitoktok farmer growing multiple crops to organically control pests, diseases and weeds

poultry imune booster

Kithokilo’s organic poultry immune booster, curative and preventative. Photo courtesy.

Marshal Kithokilo, Loitoktok farmer is growing multiple crops such as sunflower, pumpkin, okra and pawpaw, a practice which has enabled him control pests, diseases and weeds organically as opposed to conventional farming which relies on the use of chemicals and fertiliser.

The practice, also known as polyculture where crops are grown in the same space, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems, has seen the farmer earn from the different crops in addition to improving his family diet.

“I started this type of farming years ago to avoid the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides which gradually affects the soil and entire ecosystem. In addition, I have been able to earn from the crops’ sales and feed my family from quality and nutritious food,” said Kithokilo.

With sunflower, the farmer is able to break wind, diseases and pests that feed on other crops. The crop when planted in a rotation effect with other crops increase yields by about 10 per cent or more with the higher yields being attributed to a number of factors working together to reduce disease transmission and pest resistance.

In addition, he draws oil from the crop and use its cake, which is a by-product as feed for his poultry. 90 kilos of sunflower yields him 40 litres of oil which is very nutritious when used to cook other foods.

“I no longer buy cooking oil from shops as I have a deal with an oil expeller workshop at Parakea, Kenya-Tanzania border where oil is extracted from sunflower seeds so that I carry the oil as they remain with the cake hence I do not incur service fee,” said Kithokilo.

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Okra, another medicinal crop grown by the Kajiado County farmer. He harvests 2-3 buckets a week and sells a bucket ta Sh500. The leaves he dries and grind to be used in tea and as poultry medicine. In humans, he farmer says it is good for arthritis and ulcer patients.

He harvest 4-5 tonnes of quality pumpkin a season which he sells at Sh20,000-30,000 per tonne or  Sh35 per kilo at Parakea Market. the undesirable fruits he uses to make pumpkin soup for the family and also give to the livestock to feed on.

Pawpaws are also harvested per week to a tune of 100 fruits which he sells at Sh30-35 each. The roots, seeds and leaves he dries crush and make organic pesticide for his okra and sunflower crops.

“Pawpaw seeds have a number of medicinal benefits for other crops, birds, and human beings especially the male pawpaw seeds that help in killing bacteria and heal viral infections, heals liver disease, prevent kidney disease and minimize the risk of cancer among others,” said Kithokilo.

His aim now is to increase the acreage under production from two acres to more than four acres that he can create a model farm for organic farming to enable him train other farmers in the area.

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