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Feedback: Cabbages, potatoes, lettuce and other crops you can farm as a starter




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I have an acre in Dundori on the border of Nyandarua and Nakuru counties. Kindly advise on suitable agribusiness ventures that will not tie me down considering I have a demanding full-time job.

There are many crops that can do well in Dundori but remember you can’t grow a crop and then you don’t take care of it. If it is not you taking care of the crop, you can employ someone but also make sure you visit the farm regularly.

The plants will need to be weeded, pests and diseases controlled besides other management practices that vary depending on the crop.

You can try cabbages, sukuma wiki, spinach, strawberry, garden peas, potato, leeks, lettuce, pepino melon, French beans, indigenous vegetables such as spider plant, black nightshade, amaranth, rattle pod, jute mallow, vine spinach and Russian comfrey.


Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

How can I fatten bulls in a short time for sale?

Bull fattening is done in readiness for sale. Mostly during the harsh weather when we don’t have enough pasture and water, animals raised in the dry areas can be fattened with proper planning to fetch more.

Fattening of bulls requires a quality diet. This means doing high quality hay and having it in your store, making silage, making a concentrate to improve on protein and energy nutrition and also having minerals and vitamin sources that can be bought as premix.

Total mixed ration way of feeding is also encouraged. This is where you mix weighed proportions of grass, silage, premix and concentrates that meet the bulls’ nutritional requirement and offer them depending on their body live weight.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.


I am Aloyse from Uganda. I want to know how one can succeed in watermelon farming. I planted quarter of an acre but they are not doing well.

Watermelons are warm-season crops and they require long growing period of high temperatures. Good vegetative growth requires 18-32oC, the optimal being 18-24oC. They do better with adequate water supply.

Within a growing season, at least 400mm of moisture will be required. Soils should be well-drained and with good water-holding capacity.

The pH should be 6.0-6.8. Watermelons have been grown successfully in sandy soils, where water supply is adequate. However, the best soils are sandy loam or silt loam.

Application of nitrogenous fertilisers is based on soil type. Soils with high organic matter require 80kg N/ha, while light soils require 140kg N/Ha.

The nitrogen fertiliser should be applied and incorporated into the soil at planting time. Phosphorus and potassium applications are based on soil tests, and both should also be applied at the time of planting.

The best melons are those raised under irrigation. Most of the soils under which the melons are grown are light and require frequent watering to maintain good growth.

Depending on the environmental conditions, 450-600mm of water is required within a growing season. Water can be applied through drip or furrow irrigation.

Use of sprinkler irrigation raises the humidity within the canopy and this leads to increased disease incidence. Weeds should be controlled, especially when the melon plants are young.

Weeds offer greater competition by shading the melon plants. Weed control can be achieved by application of black plastic mulches, cultivation, and use of herbicides that are registered for use in melons.

Remember that watermelons need water in the first few weeks of growth but when they start producing fruits, if you are irrigating you should stop.

As the fruit develops, the less water it gets the better as this will increase the sugar content and sugar concentration in the fruit, making it sweeter.

When you start picking the watermelons, only chose the ripe ones because they don’t continue to ripen after picking.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

What are the best feeds for fish and which are common markets available?

The best fish feeds are commercial pellets. The pellets are of different sizes for various growth stages of fish. There are starters, pre-grower, grower, high-protein finisher and low-protein finisher.

Some of the sellers for fish feeds are Unga Limited, Aller Aqua and Samaki Express Limited. For more details, contact me on 0716573291.

Janice Kimuli,
Agro-science Park Fish Farm, Egerton University.


I am highly interested in agribusiness in both urban and rural set-ups. Lately, I’ve developed much interest in snail farming.

I have little knowledge from online sources about snails, but I don’t know where to source them and at what prices. I would also like to know about the market and groups that I can join to learn more.

Snail farming or heliciculture is one of the emerging profitable ventures. To rear snails, you will need a permit from Kenya Wildlife Service because they are considered wild.

You should also consider the market because snail consumption is based on cultural and religious beliefs. There is a ready market for snails locally in hotels, among foreigners and abroad.

For you to supply snails in hotels and to export, you will need a certificate. You should also be ready to submit annual reports to Kenya Wildlife Service.

Snails are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female sexual organs and all of them lay eggs after every three months.

You can get snails from Konokono Organic Snails (Amiyo Farms). For more information on the price, please contact them on 0721 256252 or [email protected]

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

Please let me know where I can get gooseberry seeds. I would also appreciate any information on gooseberries farming in Kenya.

You can get the seeds from Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) or Gooseberry Seeds Kenya, contact them on 0720466433.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

I want to try my hand at growing apples in Migori County. How can I get seedlings?
Opiyo Oduwo

You can get apple seedlings from Wambugu Apple Farm. Their contact is 0729964458. You can also reach Oxfarm Limited on 0723662773 for the seeds.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.



I would like to get some information on growing eucalyptus trees on my land in Mois Bridge. That is, the type of species, the dos and don’ts and the market dynamics.

There are many species of eucalyptus, but according to Kefri, Eucalyptus grandis (Rose gum) and Eucalyptus saligna (Blue gum) are the ones which are recommended for growing in Uasin Gishu.

According to Kefri, seeds are sowed in a nursery where they take 7-14 days to germinate. When the seedlings have two leaves, they are placed into individual containers or polythene sleeves.

The seedlings should be protected from excess sunlight, wind, weeds, pests and diseases. Watering should be done twice a day preferably in the morning and evening.

Avoid overwatering. Root pruning should be done at least twice if seedlings are grown in pots. The seedlings are ready for transplanting when they are 25-35cm in height or after 4-5 months. Planting should be done at the onset of the rains.

The spacing to be used depends on the use of the tree and the agro ecological zone. In high potential areas, a spacing of 2-2.5m by 2-2.5m is adopted while in arid and semi-arid areas, a spacing of 3m by 3m is used. Make sure you scout for pests and diseases during the first two years of growth.

Harvesting time depends on the use of the tree, for fuelwood and rails from 3 years, poles and pulp from 6-8 years, for transmission poles from 8-10 years and for timber from 15-20 years. Eucalyptus grandis can be used for timber, transmission poles, construction poles, firewood, charcoal and pulpwood.

Eucalyptus saligna is widely used for poles, posts, timber, pulpwood, furniture, veneer and shelterbelts. Kenya Forest Service recommends that eucalyptus should not be planted in riparian or marshy areas, wetlands, and near a water body.

The trees should not be planted near buildings or on road reserves as the branches and stems of some species easily break off.

It is good to plant eucalyptus in areas that have been degraded by soil erosion, marginal lands, waterlogged areas (to drain the area) and areas with saline soils.

The trees also act as windbreakers on large farms. Avoid growing eucalyptus trees in areas with low rainfall as they will compete with other crops for water and also produce toxic substances (allelopathy) which will hinder the growth of other crops.

The market for eucalyptus is huge. You can check in timber yards and Kenya Power, which uses them for electricity poles.

The company is currently looking for farmers selling the trees. Eucalyptus seeds are available from Kefri, contact them on [email protected] or 0723500176.

Carol Mutua
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.


I am a farmer in Turbo and I have 5,000 eucalyptus trees, 1,500 cypress, 800 passion fruits and 500 kayaba (fence) tree seedlings for sell. I am seeking market at good prices.

You have not told us the eucalyptus species you have and the type of passion fruits seedlings you grow, that is, yellow or purple.

These seedlings are usually on high demand especially during the rainy season. Kayaba is Kei apple, which is mainly used as a live fence. You can advertise your products on social media sites such as Facebook or instagram.

Carol Mutua
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University


Please educate me on how to cure pork to prolong its shelf-life because I don’t have a refrigerator.
Graham Girvan, Webuye

Curing is a method of preserving foods such as meat, fish and vegetables by adding salt to draw moisture out. This makes the food inhospitable for micro-organisms that cause spoilage.

In pork curing, you can coat a pork cut with a dry rub containing salt and seasonings, or wet brine where the cut is submerged in a salty seasoned brine (a high concentration solution of salt in water).

Different pork cuts are cooked differently. Cuts that are tough are slow-roasted while the less tough ones can be quickly grilled.

Similarly, in pork preservation, different cuts should be handled differently since they have various characteristics that will affect the final flavour of the preserved product.

Pork cuts that are tough and fatty can be ground and preserved in casings as sausages. The lean and tender cuts are suitable for salting and can be preserved whole.

Hind pig legs work less than other parts like the shoulder hence this meat is tender. A whole leg is cured by thoroughly salting it in a cool place.

Since this is a large meat cut, the temperatures should be appropriate, therefore, a cool place in the house should be picked for curing. Pork loin can be cured by mixing salt, sugar, black pepper, garlic, cloves and thyme to make lonzino.

Pork tenderloin is a tender meat. It is leaner than pork loin and can be cured at home as a whole cut. The pork shoulder is mostly ground into sausage since it is tough and fibrous.

Pork neck meat may be ground into sausage along with the shoulder meat. For curing, the neck is handled in a similar manner as the pork loin. Pork belly is commonly used for bacon making.

Pig jowl muscles are used very much hence this cut is tough but the curing process makes it tender. Pork ribs are best cooked immediately.

If curing is to be done, bones should be removed and the meat slow-cooked in fat. Upon cooling, the fat on top will keep oxygen out, hence protecting the meat.

When stored in a cool place, this meat can be kept for months. For recipes on the different types of cured pork cuts, please contact me at [email protected]

Faith Ndungi,
Department of Human Nutrition, Egerton University.

I would like to try farming teff or quinoa grains in Bungoma since growing maize doesn’t make economic sense. I am willing to try it on five acres.

Teff is an ancient staple grain crop thought to have originated from Ethiopia. It can be ground into flour, fermented or used to make injera, a sourdough type of flat bread.

Teff germinates in warm soil and seedlings are fairly drought-tolerant. You can get teff seeds: Biovision Africa Trust, P.O Box 30772 — 00100, Nairobi.

Syeunda Cyprian
Department of Dairy, Food Science and Technology,
Egerton University.

Does moringa grow well in highlands, in particular, Timboroa? And where can I buy the seeds?

Yes, moringa will do well in Timboroa and generally in Baringo County. You can try Kenya Forestry Seed Centre for seeds.

Contact them at [email protected] or 0723500176. You can also try Meshack on 0722369552 or Charles on 0721488915.

Carol Mutua
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.



BCCI: The bank ‘that would bribe God’



Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.

BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.

It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.

BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.

The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.

He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.

In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  

BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.

The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.

The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.

It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.

The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.

It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”

This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.

The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.

And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.

“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.

BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.

“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.


A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.

“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.

CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.

This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.

For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.

In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.

Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 

The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.

Criminal culture

In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).

The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.

This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.

Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.

“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.

These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.

“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.

BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).

Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).

[email protected]    

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Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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East Africa celebrates top women in banking and finance




The Angaza Awards for Women to watch in Banking and Finance in East Africa took place Online via Zoom on 8th June 2021.

The event was set to celebrate the top 10 women shaping banking and finance across East Africa. The 2021 Angaza Awards, which will be a Pan-African Awards program, was also announced at the event.

Key speakers at this webinar were Dr Nancy Onyango, Director of Internal Audit and Inspection at the IMF; and Gail Evans, New York Times Best Selling Author of Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman and former White House Aide and CNN Executive Vice President.

Dr Nancy Onyango advised women to deep expertise in their fields, spend time in forums and link with key players in that sector.
“Gain exposure with other cultures by seeking for employment overseas and use customized CV for each job application,” said Dr Onyango.

According to Gail Evans, women should show up and be fully present in meetings and not be preoccupied with other issues.
“Be simple and avoid jargon. Multi-tasking only means that you are mediocre Smart people ask good questions in a business meeting. Most women face drawbacks due to perfectionism, procrastination and fear of failure, said Evans.

She advised women to play like a man and win like a woman, be strategic, and intentionally make their moves to get to the top.

“For us to pull up businesses that have been affected by effects of COVID-19 pandemic, we need to re-invent business models, change the product offering and make more use of digital platforms,” said Mary Wamae Equity Group Executive Director.

Mary Wamae emerged top at the inaugural Angaza awards( East Africa) ahead of other finalists.

While women continue to excel in banking and finance, the number of that occupies top executive positions is still less.

“There is a gap for women occupying C suite level and it continues to widen in the finance sector. At entry level, there is still an experience gap for women,” said Nkirote Mworia, Group Secretary for UAP-Old Mutual Group.

She said that at the Middle Management level, women do not express their ambition. For this reason, UAP-Old Mutual has developed an executive sponsorship program to help women get to the next level.

Mworia added that most women hold the notion that top positions in management have politics and pressure.
“One needs leadership skills and not technical expertise to get to the top,” said Mworia.

According to Catherine Karimi, Chief Executive Officer and Principal Officer of APA Life Assurance Company, women need to focus on the strengths and natural abilities that they already have.


“Take risks and raise your hand to get to the high table. Find mentors along the way and develop your own brand and not compare yourself with others Focus on your strengths because it will make you move faster in the career ladder,” said Karimi.

Lina Mukashyaka Higiro, a Rwandan businesswoman and chief executive officer of the NCBA Bank Rwanda since July 2018, has three lessons for women who want to excel in banking and finance.
“Always spend at least 20 minutes each day reading, seeking genuine feedback from other staff members and widen your network,” Higiro told the webinar.

Women picked for Angaza awards

Mary Wamae, Executive Director, led this year’s Top 10 Women in Angaza Awards, Equity Group (Kenya)(2)Catherine Karimi, Chief Executive Officer, APA Life Insurance Company (Kenya)(3)Lina Higiro, Chief Executive Officer, NCBA Bank (Rwanda)(4)Elizabeth Wasunna Ochwa, Business Banking Director, Absa Bank (Kenya)(5)Joanita Jaggwe, Country Head of Risk and Compliance, KCB Group (South Sudan)(6) Millicent Omukaga, Technical Assistance Expert on Inclusive Finance, African Development Bank (Kenya)(7)Emmanuella Nzahabonimana, Head of Information Technology, KCB Group (Rwanda)(8)Judith Sidi Odhiambo, Group Head of Corporate Affairs, KCB Group (Kenya)(9)Rosemary Ngure, ESG & Impact Manager, Catalyst Principal Partners (Kenya) and(10)Pooja Bhatt, Co-Founder, QuantaRisk and QuantaInsure (Kenya).

The Kenyan Wallstreet, a financial media firm, partnered with Kaleidoscope Consultants to raise awareness of seasoned women shaping and influencing the sector through their organizations.

The Angaza Award criteria included assessing the applicants’ area of responsibility and contribution to firm performance. Professionals in Banking, Capital Markets, Insurance, Investment Banking, Fintech, Fund Management, Microfinance, and SACCOs were invited to submit their applications or nominations via the Kenyan Wallstreet Award Web page.

ALSO READ: Angaza Awards Top Finalist; Mary Wangari Wamae

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IFC in New Partnership to Develop Affordable Housing in Mombasa County




NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 14 – International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, has signed a new deal in support of affordable housing in Kenya.

The corporation has partnered with Belco Realty LLP, to develop a mixed use affordable living complex that will consist of 1,379 residential units and over 4,500 square meters of retail and commercial spaces in Kongowea, Mombasa County.

Together with the Kenyan firm, IFC says the partnership will help meet surging demand for housing in Kenya.

Under the agreement, IFC will help identify suitable international strategic partners to invest equity of up to $12 million, or Sh1.3 billion in Belco and to provide the company with the necessary technical support to develop the project.

The development, known as Kongowea Village, will be developed to foster inclusive and affordable community living within the city.

Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa says the project, which will be located on eight acres within the heart of Mombasa city, will aim to be a catalyst for wider city regeneration.

The project will be developed to meet IFC EDGE certification requirements and will incorporate the latest technologies in passive cooling, energy efficiency and water conservation to support sustainable urbanization.

 Kongowea Village is expected to create 1,160 jobs and business opportunities during the three-year construction period and many more after completion of the project within the themed retail arcade.


 “Access to quality housing is a growing problem in Kenya and across Africa,” said Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa.

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“Developers often target the high end of the market, but this project is aimed squarely at the lower-income bracket. Helping Belco identify the right partners for this project is expected to attract more developers to Kenya and other parts of Africa to help meet rising demand for housing.”

 IFC‘s engagement with Belco will help Kenya support its rapidly growing and urbanizing population by increasing access to affordable housing. The problem is similar across most of Africa, where population growth and demand for quality housing are combining to outstrip supply.  We are pleased to partner with a company such as Belco that is committed to contributing to solving this challenge,” said Emmanuel Nyirinkindi, IFC‘s Director for Transaction Advisory Services.

 IFC’s partnership with Belco is part of its broader strategy to support better access to affordable housing in Kenya.

In 2020, IFC invested $2 million in equity in the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company (KMRC) to help increase access to affordable mortgages and support home ownership in the country.

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