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    By George Munene

    The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) will open its storage facilities to wheat farmers this season to help them avoid post-harvest handling losses. The move will also enable farmers to keep their produce in reserve, fetching better future prices when markets are not flooded and the amount of cheaper imports has reduced.

    The service will be offered at silos in Nairobi, Nakuru, Narok, and Eldoret branches. NCPB will charge Sh81 for every 90 kg bag stored-- a cost to be shouldered by both the miller and farmer.

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    This move will also help small-scale farmers, most of whom lack proper storage infrastructure.

    Once the grain has been delivered by farmers, millers can buy the wheat and offtake from one of the board's silos.

    Wheat buyers can access grade one wheat for Sh3,700, and grade two for Sh3,600. The price of grade three wheat will be determined through consultation between the farmers and miller.

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    Isiolo International Airport

    By George Munene

    Isiolo, Meru, and Laikipia farmers will increase their fresh produce export by up to 11 per cent once the refurbished Isiolo International Airport becomes operational.

    The airport has been fitted with cargo shades that will shield farmers' fresh produce from exposure to direct sunlight will begin accommodating cargo flights from January next year which will reduce the travel distance of produce to domestic and regional East African markets. 

    The counties which currently export just four per cent of their agricultural produce— mainly Miraa, pyrethrum, vegetables, and flowers— have never benefited from the airport, which was inaugurated in 2017.  

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    "Small-scale farmers should embrace horticultural farming in readiness of the reopening of the airport to capitalise on their farm produce getting to a much larger market faster. This will lessen their exploitation at the hands of cartels who enrich themselves at their expense," stated Government Spokesman Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna while on a tour of the facility. 

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    livestock pre export zone

    By George Munene

    Kenya has begun construction of a livestock pre-export zone in Lamu County. The Sh 3 billion project will enable for processing of slaughtered livestock to suit the consumer-driven demands of traders. This value addition will also enable the exportation of animal products through the newly opened Lamu port and in turn, improve the incomes of livestock farmers in the region.

    The Bar’goni Livestock Pre-Export Quarantine project will be sited in Lamu West and is slated for completion in June next year. It will contain livestock holding pens, livestock housing and feeding troughs, and disease-control veterinary fences as well as feed storage housing, mixing machinery, and a mini-lab.

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    "As construction work commences on the livestock pre-export zone we hope local livestock farmers, especially those in adjoining arid and semi-arid lands, will invest in the livestock sector to help improve their livelihoods", Harry Kimtai Principal Secretary State Department for Livestock said.

    The quarantine facility is also useful in ensuring livestock commodities meet internationally set animal health handling standards.

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