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Many uses of tithonia on the farm




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Kindly explain how Tithonia diversifolia is used as manure, foliar feed and as a pesticide.
Antony Toweet

Tithonia diversifolia is a species of flowering plant in the Asteraceae family that is commonly known as the tree marigold, Mexican sunflower or Japanese sunflower.

It is native to Mexico and Central America but has a near pantropical distribution as an introduced species. Depending on the area, they may be either annual or perennial.

This plant was originally domesticated in Mexico and spread to other parts of central and South America and north into the United States.

It was brought over to parts of Africa and Asia as an ornamental plant and has become an invasive weed that is widely spread.

It is most commonly found in areas with an altitude of between 550m and 1,950m. Most of the time it is scattered along riverbeds and roadsides.

It has shown great potential in raising fertility in soils depleted in nutrients. Originating in Mexico, research has shown its potential in benefiting poor African farmers.

This plant is a weed that grows quickly and has become an option as an affordable alternative to expensive synthetic fertilisers.

It increases crop yields and the soil nutrients namely nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).

Potential in soil fertility: According to a 2000 research by Jama, and others, green biomass of tithonia has been recognised as an effective source of nutrients for lowland rice (Oryza sativa) in Asia and more recently for maize (Zea mays) and vegetables in eastern and southern Africa.

Chemical composition of tithonia: Tithonia green manure has proved to be a reliable source of Nitrogen (N), potassium (K) and phosphorous (P) for plant growth.

It is, therefore, used as an organic fertiliser. The percentage composition of the major organic mineral elements abundantly found in tithonia plant include: Nitrogen (3.2—5.5 per cent), potassium (2.3—5.5 per cent), phosphorous (0.2—0.5 per cent), calcium (1.8—2.0 per cent) and magnesium (0.3—0.4 per cent).

In addition to providing nutrients, tithonia incorporated at five tonnes dry matter per hectare can reduce P absorption and increase soil microbial biomass.

Fahrurrozi and others in 2015 also did a research on carrot using tithonia in organic vegetable production. They made liquid organic fertiliser using Tithonia diversifolia to improve organically growing of carrots.

Propagation of tithonia: This shrub can naturally exist as a weed on farms or planted using either cuttings or seeds.

When using seeds, they are scattered in narrow furrows and covered with a thin layer of sand. When using cuttings, 20cm stems with two nodes below the ground and three nodes above the ground are planted at an angle of 450.

Use of tithonia plant as organic pesticide and fertiliser: The organic fertiliser is mined from mineral deposits from synthetic compounds and contains N, P and K.

Tithonia helps curb reliance of chemical fertilisers that have impoverished soils. It is, therefore, used as an organic fertiliser.


The fertiliser can be used in the growing of sukuma wiki, sorghum, cowpeas, beans, maize and tomatoes. Tithonia has been mixed with bio slurry from biogas to increase the amount of NPK in the fertiliser for carrot production. Some training is also required on the process.

Advantages of using tithonia as liquid fertiliser: It has a high concentration of dissolved nutrients, which are readily available for the plant unlike in the mineral fertiliser where these nutrients are bound in fertiliser filler materials.

Presence of micro-organisms in this fertiliser breaks down the organic matter in the soil enhancing the activity of the soil, and increasing nutrient availability to the plant.

T. diversiforlia acts as an insect repellent, hence controls insects when used to make the liquid fertiliser. It provides organic elements like N, P and K in amounts excess to what mineral fertiliser provides. It is also used in demarcation of different plots on the farm and screen hedges.

The plant can further be used as fodder and it improves soil aeration.

Biological pesticide: To make the pesticide, harvest leaves and twigs and crush them in a mortar and pestle. Add water to the Tithonia diversiforlia crushed paste and sieve to get a clear liquid.

Five litres of water are used to dilute 17kg of concentrated T. diversiforlia paste to form a clear liquid pesticide. This pesticide has been used in controlling pests in vegetables.

The advantage is that it is effective, cuts the cost of production and the vegetables are free from chemicals. That is our field observation, however, as an Egerton University, we are in continuous investigation process for the compound (active principles) that control these pest and diseases.

Peter Caleb Otieno,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and soil. Egerton University.

Please share a list of agricultural products exporters and buyers in Kenya.

There are so many companies that export and buy agricultural products in Kenya. They include Sunripe, Agriflora Kenya Ltd, Interveg Export Ltd, Jade Fresh Ltd, Kenya Horticultural Exporters, Homefresh Horticulture Exports Ltd, Kandia Fresh Produce Suppliers and Hillside Green Growers and Exporters Company.

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


I’ve just ventured into agribusiness, growing strawberries as a start. I need to source a laser drip irrigation system, which I understand is better than what is currently available in Kenya.

Do you have anyone who is a distributor and who can install this system?

Laser drip irrigation is better than the drip irrigation currently being used in Kenya. Drip Tech Company based in India sells the laser drip irrigation.

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



Sordid tale of 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).
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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –




Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard




Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

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