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Science and Agriculture

County cushions farmers against post-harvest loses

Dr Maina said the County department of Agriculture is formulating policies to protect and promote the development of the dairy industry.

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Farmers package carrots at Mau Narok in Nakuru County on November 20, 2013. Photo/Courtesy

The County Government of Nakuru has promised to enforce the law to curb the exploitation of carrot growers by middlemen.

Dr Immaculate Maina, the County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, said most farmers of the crop were not tapping its maximum potential because they were not members of cooperatives.

Dr Maina, who spoke in Mau Narok when she visited Mau View Sacco Carrot farmers said that the county government was in talks with the national government and development partners to help farmers avoid post-harvest loses through the establishment of cold rooms and carrot value addition factories.

According to the CEC the members of the Sacco export 2,850 bags of carrots per week to neighbouring Uganda, adding that the devolved unit is committed to establishing a regional carrot export market that meets the needs of the East African Community.

Dr Maina also revealed that her department is negotiating with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to fast-track certification of Kihingo Milk plant to enable it to start packaging and marketing of dairy products in Njoro Sub-County.

She pointed out that processing of milk and value addition within the production points will greatly reduce losses incurred between farmers and processors.

The CEC observed this will go a long way in assisting the traceability and branding of the milk by a processor in the market.

Dr Maina said the County department of Agriculture is formulating policies to protect and promote the development of the dairy industry.

She further observed that that carrots farmed in the county had a huge unmet demand in Marikiti, and Kongowea markets in Nairobi and Mombasa respectively, and advised farmers to stick to export rules and regulations so as to penetrate regional and international markets.

The CEC affirmed that the county government is committed to saving farmers from poor markets by helping them harvest quality agricultural products.

“Farmers must ensure that only quality carrots are produced and marketed. Harvesting and export of immature crops negatively affect Kenya’s image in overseas markets.

Farmers willing to export their products should have valid licenses and be registered as exporters or else their produce will be impounded at border points,” Dr Maina observed.

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Science and Agriculture

County seeks collaboration with UK to boost horticulture exports

As the largest economy in East Africa and among the top 10 in the continent, Kenya was an important trading partner for the UK.

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The United Kingdom High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott receives a commemorative rhino carving from Governor Lee Kinyanjui during a courtesy call at the County headquarters on May 18, 2021.

The County Government of Nakuru plans to strengthen its collaboration with the UK to guarantee continued market access for horticultural products from Kenya.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui noted that Nakuru was the leading producer of herbs, spices, cut flowers and vegetables.

The governor stated that despite COVID-19 disruptions, the UK market accounts for 43 per cent of total exports of vegetables from Kenya as well as at least 9 per cent of cut flowers.

He was speaking at the County Headquarters after holding talks with United Kingdom High Commissioner to Kenya, Ms Jane Marriott.

The Governor added that, as the largest economy in East Africa and among the top 10 in the continent, Kenya was an important trading partner for the UK.

He also noted that increased access to the UK export market by hundreds of smallholder farmers who have ventured into avocado farming would improve livelihoods and increase incomes for thousands of rural households.

Mr Kinyanjui assured that his administration had dispatched agriculture extension officers to train youthful horticultural farmers on the mandatory standards their produce is expected to meet in the European Union (EU) and other export markets.

Ms Marriott called on Kenya to ride on the deal with the UK to grow its exports, which are largely agricultural produce.

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Science and Agriculture

The politics of the International Space Station: the USA vs China

Call them, the superpower rivalries. 

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An artist’s impression of the completed Chinese Space Station Xia Yuan/Getty Images

In 2007, China expressed interest to participate in the International Space Station’s missions. 16 nations that are members of the ISS agreed to have China included but the USA declined. The USA expressed concerns that China would transfer technology that could be used for military purposes.

The USA has similar concerns over Russia’s participation but would later agree to have Russia on board after the USA shuttles were grounded after the Columbia accident in 2003 and retirement of the shuttles in 2011. Interestingly, the USA, through a private company SpaceX, in what appears to be a move to delink from Russia on May 31, 2020, sent humans to the ISS from the USA soil.

As determined as China is, it has over years planned to set up its own International Space Station and three days ago (April 28) IT launched a core space station module. It plans to have at least 10 more similar launches, carrying all the additional equipment into orbit, before the completion of the station next year.

China and Russia are collaborating to see this happen. Remember Russia feels lonely after the USA abandoned Russia after having its crewed launch capabilities through SpaceX. China is also banking on Russia on ISS expertise while Russia is depending on China for funds. Interestingly, both countries’ space agencies say they have also signed agreements to develop research facilities (International Scientific Lunar Station) on the surface of the moon, in orbit or both. The USA is working tirelessly to achieve these fete.

This partnership and the rapid growth of China’s space capabilities have caused concern about military ambitions. Already, the USA intelligence community in a report has listed China’s space program as a top security concern for the United States.

Call them, the superpower rivalries.

 

Sebastian Rice (17 October 2007). “China wants to help with Space Station”. iTWire. Retrieved 02 May 2021

Spotts, Pete (2010-10-16). “NASA’s Bolden walks tight rope on China trip”The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 02 May 2021

“South Korea, India to begin ISS partnership talks in 2010”Flight International. 19 June 2010. Retrieved 02 May 2021

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Amalo farmers receive 3,900 chicks under County’s empowerment program

This year the County Government of Nakuru has targets to distribute over 49,000-month-old chicks. Last year, the County distributed 30,000 chicks.

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The County Government of Nakuru has distributed 3,900-month-old chicks to various farmers groups in Amalo Ward, Kuresoi South sub-County.

The 40 farmer groups are the first in the region to receive the birds through the Local Chicken Stimulus Project that seeks to empower farmers economically.

So far, the County Government of Nakuru, under the leadership of Governor Lee Kinyanjui has distributed 35,000-month-old chicks across the County.

Acting County Director of Livestock Production, Ms Virginiah Ngunjiri advised farmers on proper practices, among them strict vaccination schedule to keep diseases at bay.

According to the Directorate of Livestock Production, Kuresoi South comes third in indigenous bird population of over 177, 000 after Njoro and Gilgil Sub Counties.

At the same time, more than 4,400 chicks were distributed to 70 farmer groups in the Njoro sub-county in an exercise led by Livestock Officer, Ms Eunice Nginya.

Members of County Assembly Mr Wesley Korir of Amalo Ward and Zachariah Kahero of Njoro commended the County for initiating the stimulus program to empower farmers.

“Besides selling the birds, the farmers will benefit from the eggs and meat thus improving nutrition status in the region. The droppings too can be used as manure to grow crops,” stated Wesley.

This year the County Government of Nakuru has targets to distribute over 49,000-month-old chicks. Last year, the County distributed 30,000 chicks.

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