NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s horticulture sector planned to
participate in the upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE)
to boost its revenue, the industry association said on Thursday.
CEO of Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPCK), told Xinhua in
Nairobi that the event will provide an opportunity for Kenyan
exporters to meet potential Chinese buyers for horticultural
“We want to use our
participation at the China International Import Expo to make a
major entry in the lucrative Chinese market,” Ojepat said.
He said the FPCK
will be part of the Kenyan delegation at the expo.
He said currently
the majority of fresh produce exports are sold in the European
Union, United States and Middle East markets.
He added that about
one percent of horticulture exports is sold to China and mostly
through re-exports from other countries, stressing the sector
will use the CIIE to boost direct sales into the vast Chinese
He observed that
currently Kenya Airways and China Southern Airlines operate
direct flights between Nairobi and Guangzhou.
“We want to leverage
on this connectivity to boost sales of perishable goods into the
Chinese market,” the CEO said.
According to the
FPCK, Kenya has a huge potential to increase exports given that
95 percent of fresh produce is consumed locally.
He said that in
2017, the east African nation exported some 159,000 tonnes of
The CEO added that
the most common horticulture exports include cut-flowers,
broccoli, spices and sugar snaps.
Kenyan farmers emboldened to
plant maize after curbing fall armyworm
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Farmers in different parts of Kenya are readying
for the second maize planting season, which begins this month as
the short rains period starts.
The farmers are
currently preparing their land and buying inputs that include
fertilizer to grow more maize, emboldened after the defeat of
the pest in the long rain season crop, which they planted in
March and harvested in August.
“I planted maize and
beans and harvested late in August. The crop performed well
despite initial attack by the fall armyworm. This has encouraged
me to plant once again this season,” Vincent Namwale, a farmer
in Kitale said on phone on Thursday.
As others in the
region, Namwale’s maize on five acres was infested by the pest
as soon as it was about four-leafed.
unsuccessfully using pesticides alone to fight the pest, the
farmer turned to unconventional ways of curbing the pest, which
“Most of us in this
area mainly used washing detergents alongside pesticides to
fight the pest. I would apply pesticides and follow up with
detergents after two or three days. This helped me overcome the
pest,” he recounted.
The farmer harvested
some 50 bags (90kg per bag) of maize from his five acres, a feat
that he has not savored since the pest was first detected in
“In 2016 when the
pest was first detected, I only harvested 13 bags from my five
acres and did not bother to plant the second season. In 2017, I
harvested some 25 bags after using pesticides offered by the
county government,” said Namwale.
In addition to the
fall armyworm, farmers in the East African nation have also
battled the Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease, which wiped out
swathes of maize plantation across the East African nation.
The disease attacked
small farmers’ maize in 2014 and 2015 in the Rift Valley,
Western, Central, Eastern and Nyanza, threatening the country’s
food production and security.
The east African
nation’s ministry of agriculture blamed the disease on
widespread practice of using recycled or farm-saved maize seeds.
The disease was also
blamed on mixing several types of maize varieties on one farm
and failure by farmers to practice intercropping or crop
institutions later released varieties of certified maize seeds
that are resistant to the disease helping farmers curb them.
Having defeated the
diseases and pest, the worst, therefore, seems to be over for
the millions of Kenya’s maize farmers, who are now emboldened to
grow the staple.
“We know what to use
to defeat the fall armyworm and diseases like lethal necrosis.
Myself I believe the worst in maize farming is now behind us, so
I am confident to plant more maize this season though low prices
are still an issue,” said Meshack Korir, a farmer in Uasin Gishu.
Bernard Moina, an
agricultural extension officer, is optimistic that the worst on
the farm may be over for maize farmers for now, but cautioned
farmers to stick to certified seeds and observe crop rotation.