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    Kenya Meat Commission

    By George Munene

    The Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) will offer direct livestock purchases from farmers in an effort to better their returns. 

    The agency which was placed under military stewardship last year will also review livestock pricing every three months as well as buying animals by use of live weight as opposed to carcass weight.

    Speaking at a farmer’s sensitisation effort in Mandera County, DOD procurement officer Lieutenant Colonel Waluke explained; “Our purpose of coming to Mandera today was to sensitize the farmers and tell them about how livestock can be procured at Kenya Meat Commission and familiarize ourselves with the challenges farmers face.” 

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    For Garissa livestock keepers, KMC announced the buying price for cattle with a live weight of 350 kilograms and above to be Sh180 per kg for bulls and steers while cows will fetch Sh170/kg.

    The cattle will need to have attained a minimum weight of 200kg to 180kg. For this weight class farmers will earn Sh150 per kg for bulls and Sh140kg per cow.

    Goats and sheep will need to weigh at least 20 kilograms to be accepted. A buck will fetch Sh220 per kg with a doe being bought for Sh210 per kg. Rams will fetch Sh210 per kg while ewes will go for Sh200 per kg.

    At a farmers' meeting at Garissa, KMC’s team leader Lt Col Martin Maluki said since being moved from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of Defence the Athi River-based abattoir has upped its capacity from seven cows a day to 200 and will be slaughtering 6,000 animals every month.

    This improved capacity is hoped will lead to the plant’s revival in its march to profitability as it provides ranchers and organized livestock trading groups a ready market.

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    Meru sunflower farmers

    By George Munene

    Over 3,000 small-scale sunflower farmers in Meru County have from the 26th of April started receiving cash payments from the Tujiinue Tena climate change and COVID-19 adaptation project launched in September of last year.

    Farmers who cultivated the crop last season will be paid on delivering their produce to weighing centers across the county. As further good news to farmers, Dr Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director of Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), the civil society organization behind the project indicated that the price paid to farmers, an initial Sh30 per kilogram had been increased to Sh40 on the kilo. He urged them to continue growing sunflowers since the market for their produce is ready.

    The project is a partnership between farmers, the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, BIDCO Africa and Kenya Seed Company.

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    PACJA handled climate-smart community sensitization and mobilization. Seed-producing firm Kenya Seed Company distributed sunflower seeds and conducted farmer extension services to support farmers. BIDCO Africa for its part committed to purchasing all the produce assuring farmers a ready market under a contractual farming model.

    “The 3000 small-scale farmers receiving their payment today is a testimony of what private-public partnership can do in furthering adaptation initiatives,” said Dr Mithika Mwenda.

    With the deleterious effects of the Covid-19 lockdown and the impasse between the Kenya and Somalia government which has seen the cessation of the stimulant's entry into the country the incomes of Meru farmers where khat is the main cash crop have been greatly affected.

    “The lockdown has served as a blessing in disguise as farmers now realize that there is an alternative to growing miraa,” Jacob Kirimi, the project coordinator pointed out.

    Related News: Halt in miraa exports grounds Sh16M daily trade

    The project’s early success in Meru County he hoped will be a harbinger for similar projects in Kenya, and around Africa that will offer faster opportunities for disbursement of climate finance to adaptation projects across the globe. This still stands at 25 per cent against the agreed goal of increasing climate adaptation finance to 50 per cent.

    Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance: +254208075808 

    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

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    tomato farming kenya

    By George Munene

    For three months, tomato prices have risen exponentially in the country. From a low of Sh700 for a 30-kilogram crate at the closing months of last year, a similar crate at the farmgate now fetches a premium price of Sh2000.

    At Nairobi’s Muthurwa market the wholesale price of a medium-sized wooden crate is between Sh7000 and 8000. The price of a 40-kilogram wooden crate of Ethiopian tomatoes is Sh3500 while that of a 30-kilogram bread crate of Kenyan tomatoes fetches between Sh3200 and 4000, Sh75-85 per kilogram.

    At the heart of this price, inflation is that with uncharacteristic poor rains for the past one and half months there has been corresponding low yields from tomato farmers in the country. This owes to Kenyan farming remaining predominantly rainfed, explains Joshua Mamwaka, a wholesale trader at Muthurwa’sWakulima Market.

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    Horticultural farming, with its low barrier of entry and exit has also encouraged speculative farming which leads to mass rushing into and out of agriculture creating artificial bubbles.

    Tomato prices have also followed a similar pattern; farmgate prices hit a record Sh 80-100 per kilogram in February of last year. This was largely caused by the December short rains which persisted into January and February. “This drove speculative farmers looking to cash in on the momentarily inflated prices into growing tomatoes. Kenyan traders also crossed the border into Tanzania at Kimana, Loitokitok bringing back trailer loads of tomatoes. This flooded the market causing prices to plummet to as low as Sh25 a kilogram, Sh 300 for a 30-kilogram bread crate. This saw many of these farmers abandon tomato farming, a lacuna that has left the few farmers who persisted to supply an underserved market.

    In what has been a volatile market, even the principles of economics have been overturned: “There was a time in February when the farmgate price of tomatoes exceeded their market price, driven by a mix of low local production and imports from neighbouring countries.

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    Tomatoes are by volume the most consumed vegetable by Kenyans, yet, perhaps more than almost all widely eaten vegetables, they are the most perishable. Even as truckloads of tomatoes begin to trickle in from Ethiopia and Uganda mama mbogas and tomato resellers are having to sell tomatoes at no profit or a loss just to retain their customers,” Mamwaka elucidate. 

    While it might be a fool's errand forecasting future trends in the erratic tomato market, it might not be all too surprising to see a mass ‘gold rush’ into tomato growing in the coming weeks and a subsequently flooded market around July. 

     

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