Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Agriculture: Developing a sustainable, self-sufficient industry

To add some ideas on developing and sustaining agriculture self sufficiency:
  1. Land reform: There is the headline grabbing recapture of grabbed land. But how about online maps of land. The ideal situation would like in the US where you can google someone's name and see a map of their boma, but if we start with just scanned copies of maps residing at Ardhi house, corruption in that house will be cut in half. Then absent landlords are another bugbear. My neighbour in Nai has a 3 acre piece of land. But has been in the diaspora since '94... And stop giving away land to some foreign muppets.
  2. Farm sizes: 1/2 acre of very arable land would just about sustain a family of 4. So stopping smaller subdivisions in agriculturally rich areas would be useful. 
  3. Water: becoming scarcer with time as we love cutting trees down for charcoal, building and furniture. More tree planting, water storage and irrigation are all things that need to become part of every farmer's menu.
  4. Infastracture: Roads, machinery, vetinary services are all missing in vital food growing areas of our nation.
  5. Value addition: We tea farmers sell fresh green tea at Ksh9.50 per kilo. In Europe, its roughly Ksh700 for the same kilo in the supermarkets! Why don't we have more tea being packaged and exported and less of the leaves or berries?


coldtusker said...

Value addition is not easy... the comparison of tea leaves @ 9.50 while 'ready tea' at @ 700 is pathetic... And tea has no berries!

Erm, all tea exported is composed of 'leaves'... even when packed!

You are smart enough to recognize that DRYING the leaves to produce CTC tea means a huge loss in weight...

And there are multiple qualities... The 'best' variety is only 2-3% of total leaf production. The PDust varieties sell for much lower prices...

I could go on and on... but there is a reason why Tata bought Tetleys... to control the entire chain. Unless you do that... Kenyans should shut up...

MainaT said...

Tea leaves and coffee berries.

The real pathetic issue here is that 50+yrs of growing the crop, we are not even remotely near getting a Tata like company in Kenya to control the chain where Kenyan tea leaves and c berries are concerned.
Its the equivalent of a kid spending his life in primary school.