Posted on :Thursday , 1st July 2021
In order to improve quality and safety standards on export markets, the Kenya Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and the European Union (EU) financed the Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) have launched a new agriculture technology to reproduce macadamia and passion fruit-free, high-induction crop crop material.
A phytologist at the KALRO Center for Macadamia, Antony Nyaga, said that the need for exceptional nuts became ever more crucial as the global macadamia industry continued to grow.
The phytologist said that this is the major challenge for the competitivity of Kenya's market in the world arena because the low level of support from other players does not keep farmers to the production of quality nuts.
"Over the years the global nut demand has increased. Over 98% of the produced macadamia's are sold to global markets . The quality is determined by the buyers. If we do not abide by the best practise in this highly competitive market, our aim would be to ensure that the bulk of our macadamia farmers have easy access to high-quality planting materials," Mr Nyaga observed.
Farmers in 12 counties will be instructed in the proper ways for grafting disease-resistant macadamia and passion seedlings to preserve the country's European and international markets.
â€œWith the decline of the tea and coffee industries, farmers in central Kenya and other non-traditional growing areas such as the Rift Valley and Western Kenya are turning to macadamia nuts and passion fruits as an alternative source of income,â€ said the scientist.
The Sh473.9 million MARKUP, which is held within the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, aims to boost small-scale farmers' ability to compete in a variety of crop value chains, including mango, passion fruit, snow peas, French peas, horticulture, herbs and spices, and nuts, in the targeted 12 counties.
The goal of the cooperative effort with MARKUP is to teach innovative grafting procedures for Macadamia seedlings that are high producing, drought, disease, and pest resistant, and can tolerate extreme climatic conditions. If more farmers are instructed to prepare clean planting material, the cost of seedlings would decrease.â€
According to Nyaga, all KALRO seedlings are grafted to assure the quality and amount of the produce per tree, as nut processors are currently looking for a new variety that produces more and higher-quality oil than indigenous types.
Ms Grace Watani, the head of KALRO Seed Unit, said farmers needed clean planting materials that were resistant to pests and diseases that continue to pose a severe danger to Kenya's foreign markets, resulting in interceptions on Kenya's agricultural produce on occasion.
â€œThe collaboration with MARKUP to instruct farmers on how to prepare correct planting material, we will be able to improve the quality and quantity of our produce.
At the same time, this will boost Kenyan agricultural products' access to markets, create more foreign exchange, and improve farmers' socio-economic conditions,â€ Ms Watani explained.
She stated that KALRO will collaborate with county governments, state agencies, and the private sector to teach small-scale and large-scale farmers how to prepare grafted seedlings of yellow passion fruit, which is high yielding, disease and bug resistant, and reduces growing costs by half when compared to traditionally farmed purple passion fruit.