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Here’s the best way to harvest your avocados

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CAROLINE WAMBUI

By CAROLINE WAMBUI
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The avocado harvesting season, which ordinarily runs from April to September every year, is here again.

Farmers are, therefore, a busy lot and so are brokers, but not as busy as when the export market is open.

Around this time, brokers are normally doing brisk business, moving from one farm to another in search of fruits at the lowest prices, which they either sell to exporters or traders in the local market.

The booming trade has seen farmers over the years employ traditional, rushed methods of harvesting the fruit, leading to higher post-harvest losses.

These methods include shaking trees for the fruits to fall, using a pole with a Y-shaped head that cuts the stalk for the avocado to fall on the ground and climbing the tree with a sack to harvest.

The three methods are popular among farmers despite the damage they cause to both the trees and the fruits, leading to much waste as immature fruits get harvested or damaged.

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Farmer Moses Murithi, who is based in Tharaka Nithi County and has 95 avocado trees, knows the pain of such practices.

“I have lost tens of fruits once the harvesting is done. Despite shaking the trees for the fruits to fall, brokers never buy the damaged produce. They leave the fruits on the ground,” he says.

Sometimes Murithi is forced to repeat the harvesting as brokers leave fruits that are out of reach by hand on the trees.

“I have to get back on the farm and use a long stick to detach the stalk from the tree for them to fall onto the ground. I later sell them locally,” Murithi explains, acknowledging he loses up to 40 per cent of his avocado produce.

Well, for quality avocados and more income, you do not have to use such methods.

One of the simplest, but most efficient method of picking the fruits is through the use of a pole picker, which can be purchased or improvised on the farm.

The pole picker consists of a long, light wooden or metal frame on which a basket with a smooth inside is attached at the top. The gadget has a sharp cutter, which helps detach the fruit from the tree.

The pole picker is used to harvest fruits from taller trees. It thus comes in handy as it is steady and can extend up to five metres.

On the pole picker, a cutter is pivoted on one side and is connected to a rope and spring, which, once pulled, cuts the stalk.

The pole picker is designed in such a way that the basket is positioned right below the cutter so that once the stalk is cut, the fruit falls into the basket.

“A well-made pole picker should be light yet long and strong enough to harvest more fruits and at different heights. It should also be manoeuvrable to provide precision harvesting and reach heights that would otherwise require a ladder,” says Bernard Kinoti, an agricultural extension officer working with the Meru County government.

Kinoti notes that using the picker, fruits are harvested in a professional manner, with stalks cut some 10mm to 15mm from the fruits as required.

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Gideon Gitonga, an avocado farmer in Meru uses
Gideon Gitonga, an avocado farmer in Meru uses the gadget to harvest the fruits in his farm, and (inset) harvested avocados. The pole picker can also be used to pick mangoes, apples, lemons, lime and coconut, among other fruits. PHOTOS | CAROLINE WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“The fruits are then netted into the basket where they are cushioned from any bruising or damage. Using the clipper ensures fruits don’t end up with injuries making them vulnerable to rot or diseases.”

Once harvested, produce must be placed in a shade to avoid exposure from direct sunlight, which would accelerate ripening, thus shortening the shelf-life of the fruit.

HARVEST ONLY MATURE FRUITS

A pole picker can carry five to 10 fruits, depending on their weight and the height, and the strength of the person picking.

“If one is harvesting fruits from greater heights, the lesser the fruits one can hold for longer and vice versa, but again one is advised not to hold so many fruits, to avoid bruising and damaging them,” says Kinoti.

Gideon Gitonga, an avocado farmer in Meru with 250 trees, who uses a pole picker, says only mature fruits should be harvested.

“Using a pole picker, one harvests only mature fruits at any height of the tree without having to damage it,” Gitonga explains. The farmer says he has been able to minimise post-harvest losses from 60 per cent to 5 per cent.

“The fruits do not get mechanical damage, which boosts their market value. It is not a very quick method, but one is sure they end up with quality produce,” says Gitonga, noting he saves cash on labour as he employs two to four people to harvest an acre unlike when it comes to shaking the tree where one employs up to 10 people.

The pole picker can also be used to pick mangoes, apple, lemon, lime and coconut, among other fruits.

Making your own pole picker

  1. You need a strong pole to make a picker, but it should not be heavy.
  2. This can either be wooden or metallic and should be smooth from outside for easy handling.
  3. On one end of the pole, a spring is attached to hold the cutter, which is positioned on the left-hand side.
  4. A basket with a metallic groove is attached right next to the cutter.
  5. Once the fruit is cut, it falls right into the basket.
  6. The basket should be made in such a way that it is soft inside to ensure that the fruits don’t knock over each other and get damaged or it scratches the fruits.
  7. One can either improvise one or purchase it.

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Facebook takes down white nationalist and fake antifa accounts: The Standard

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Facebook declined to comment on whether it had been in touch with law enforcement, which it typically does in cases of an imminent threat.

Facebook Inc said Tuesday it has suspended accounts associated with white nationalist groups after some advocated bringing weapons to the current wave of anti-racist protests.

Company officials also said they removed accounts falsely claiming allegiance to antifa in order to bring discredit to the anti-fascist movement.
Antifa adherents have said they focus on defending people from attacks by authorities or vigilantes, but they have been vilified by President Donald Trump who, without citing evidence, said they were instigators of anti-police violence.
Some of the removed white nationalist accounts were associated with the Proud Boys, which Facebook previously classified as a dangerous group. The others had connections to a group called the American Guard, which is now classified the same way.

SEE ALSO: China warns Britain interfering in Hong Kong will ‘backfire’

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Multiple Facebook executives described the action on condition they not be identified. They said they acted based on behavior, not the politics of any content, and that Facebook had not designated antifa as dangerous.
The company said it was looking closer at accounts discussing protests when it saw what it deemed white nationalist accounts encouraging violence.
The misleading antifa accounts were removed for “inauthentic behavior,” because they purported to be something they were not, Facebook said.
As with a false antifa tweet that Twitter Inc tied to a third white nationalist group and which was widely distributed as a screen shot, the Facebook executives said Tuesday the goal of such content is often not to win thousands of followers but to plant a single false flag that can be used to sow distrust about the target group.
Facebook declined to comment on whether it had been in touch with law enforcement, which it typically does in cases of an imminent threat.

SEE ALSO: Facebook staff walkout, Zuckerberg defends no action on Trump posts

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Soon you will pay tax for downloading apps : The Standard

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The tax proposal in Kenya’s digital market space is likely to influence the adoption of technology in the coming years if adopted.

The tax proposal in Kenya’s digital market space is likely to influence the adoption of technology in the coming years if adopted.

The Kenya Revenue Authority has sent an invite to the public for comments on the changes seeking to introduce taxes on downloadable digital content including e-books, movies, and mobile applications.
Taxable supplies to be made through a digital marketplace shall include electronic services under section 8 (3) of the act and subscription-based media including news, magazines, journals, streaming of TV shows and music, podcasts, and online gaming.
The proposal states that a digital market place supply shall be deemed to have been made in Kenya where the recipient of the supply is in Kenya, the payment proxy including credit card information and bank account details of the recipient of the digital supplies is in Kenya; or the residence proxy including the billing or home address or access proxy including Internet Proxy address, mobile country code of SIM card of the recipient is in Kenya.

SEE ALSO: Bailout will save manufactures from virus shocks

“Following the amendments to the VAT Act, 2013 by the Finance Act, 2019, clarifying that VAT applies to supplies made through a digital marketplace, the Kenya Revenue Authority would like to inform members of the public that the draft value-added tax (digital market place supply) regulations, 2020 have been developed and are currently hosted on the Kenya Revenue Authority website.”
“To ensure wide consultation and public participation we invite sector players, tax professionals and members of the public to submit their comments on the draft regulations before June 15.”
List of areas targeted for taxation

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  • Software programs including downloading of software, drivers, website filters and firewalls;
  • Electronic data management including website hosting, online data warehousing, file-sharing, and cloud storage services.
  • Supply of music, films, and games
  • Supply of search-engine and automated helpdesk services including supply of customized search-engine services
  • Tickets bought for live events, theaters, restaurants, etc. purchased through the internet
  • Supply of distance teaching via pre-recorded medium or e-learning including the supply of online courses and training
  • Supply of digital content for listening, viewing or playing on any audio, visual or digital media
  • Supply of services on online marketplaces that links the supplier to the recipient, including transport hailing platforms
  • Any other digital marketplace supply as may be determined by the Commissioner.

If adopted, a person supplying taxable services through a digital marketplace shall be required to register for VAT in Kenya where the digital marketplace supplies are supplied by a person from a place of export country to a recipient in Kenya in a business to consumer transaction.

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Worst and best passports according to survey: The Standard

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Home & Away
Iraq is second-worst, with travel permitted to 28 countries


Kenya’s passport remains the best to own in East Africa compared to its six peers.
This is according to research conducted by world-leading offshore consulting firm Nomad Capitalist.
Passports were ranked on visa-free travel, international taxation laws, global perception, dual citizenship, and personal freedom.

SEE ALSO: Worst and best passports according to survey

The firm ranked the best passports in the world by scoring 199 different passports in five categories.Kenya scored 48 points out of the 199 total passports same as Cape Verde, Armenia, Philippines, and the Dominican Republic.
Under travel, it scored 72 points, taxation (20), and perception (30) while dual citizenship and freedom the same at 20, making it rank position 123.
Early this year, The Henley Passport Index ranked Kenya at number 72, eight places lower than its position in 2010. Kenya was at position 64 in 2010 and leading in the East African region with a visa-free and visa-on-arrival score of 65.
However, in the Nomad Capitalist, Kenya still commands a relatively high score in comparison to its East African region neighbours, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 71 destinations globally scoring 72 points against Tanzania and Uganda at 71 and 67 respectively.
Tanzania and Uganda were ranked the same position 125 with 47.50 points each.

SEE ALSO: Kenya’s Covid-19 cases shoot by 123 as government focuses on truckers

Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Botswana, and Jamaica, among other African countries, scored above Kenya at position 118,113,116,101 and 106 respectively in the same country ranking category.
South Africa ranked position 99 with 60.50 scores. Passports from Sweden, Luxembourg, and Ireland are the best in the world to own.
This year, three countries came out on top with Sweden, Luxembourg, and Ireland all scoring 114 points.
Sweden which ranked second on the index last year has climbed its way to the very top thanks to visa-free travel to 186 countries, high levels of personal freedom, and an excellent global reputation.
Luxembourg is tied for first and maintains its place at the top of the list for the third year in a row, having climbed its way up from tenth place just three years ago.

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SEE ALSO: Interior PS Karanja Kibicho hints at reopening of the economy

Luxembourg grants its citizens high levels of freedom, has an excellent global perception, and fortunately for ex-pats living there, it recently became easier to naturalize as a citizen.
The Irish passport also came out on top thanks to having one of Europe’s lowest corporate tax rates, high visa scores, and an excellent global reputation.
The top ten countries are Sweden, Luxembourg, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, and Finland.
The rest are Portugal, Singapore, the Czech Republic, and Malta.
The British passport ranks highly at number 11 as its citizens can visit 185 countries visa-free, are almost always allowed to hold another citizenship, have relatively high levels of personal freedom, and are thought-about quite highly abroad.

SEE ALSO: Sugar cane miller’s efforts to block rival from setting up factory fails

Unfortunately for Brits, it is more difficult to become legally tax non-resident when moving abroad.
By comparison, the US passport, which ranks at number 40, also allows visitors to visit 185 countries visa-free, but citizens are taxed on their worldwide income no matter where they live and are not perceived as highly as their British counterparts.
Japan, which ranked 21st on the list, is the best passport for traveling with access to 191 countries visa-free.
According to the research, the worst passport to own is the Afghan passport.
This passport only allows entry into 26 countries visa-free, its citizens are often refused entry to a substantial number of countries and also encounter substantial hostility, its citizens are strictly forbidden to hold other citizenships and they also experience less freedom.
Iraq is second-worst, with travel permitted to 28 countries, low perception from other countries, and low levels of freedom, and Yemen is third from the bottom.

SEE ALSO: Kenya Power employees turn Covid-19 positive

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