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Archive for August, 2014

New trends in Kenyan Agriculture

25 Aug

Agriculture in Kenya dominates Kenya’s economy with between 15% and 17% of Kenya’s total land area having sufficient fertility and rainfall to be farmed and around 8% being classified as first class land. By 2006 almost75% of working Kenyans earned their living by farming making agriculture the largest contributor to Kenya’s gross domestic product. Kenya is the leading producer of tea and coffee and one of the leading exporters of fresh produce like cabbages, onions and mangoes.

Kenya is a world leader when it comes to coffee and tea production. In the coffee industry Kenya is noted for its cooperative system of production as about 70% of Kenya’s coffee is produced by small scale holders. I has been estimated that there are over 150000 coffee farmers in Kenya and many more are employed indirectly in the industry. Tea, a major cash crop is ranked number 3 in foreign exchange earnings behind tourism and horticulture. Kenya has 62 tea factories servicing over 500 000 small scale farmers who produce over 60% percent of Kenya’s tea.

These two traditional crop stalwarts form the backbone of Kenya’s agricultural production. Significant strides have been made in other sectors of Kenyan agriculture. The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) is mandated with relevant research. KARI is the national institution bringing together research programmes in food crops, horticultural and industrial crops, livestock and range management, land and water management, and socio-economics. KARI promotes sound agricultural research, technology generation and dissemination to ensure food security through improved productivity and environmental conservation. KARI has 34 centres across Kenya to help cope with demand for the many technologies they develop. The technical assistance they provide help farmers when they decide to move to different crops to grow or turn to animal husbandry. KARI create awareness of new skills and crops for farmers to take up. They conduct on farm test trials and field days to demonstrate to the farmers which varieties are better than others.

One such new crop which farmers are turning to is bamboo which is grown for commercial and domestic use. The Kenya Forestry Research institute is spearheading the production fund and has already set aside 2million shillings for the crop. Bamboo is viewed as a more friendly crop that will protect the environmentally sensitive areas and provide bio-mass energy for both domestic and industrial consumption. Many farmers have taken up bamboo and are reporting how lucrative the crop is. One farmer from Nakuru had his to say, “A harvest can bring in millions of shillings. For instance, we sell one bbambooamboo stick at Sh40 and in a month we can have orders for about 200,000 pieces. This means that we can make about Sh8 million that month.” From putting food on your table, paper in your printer, a floor under your feet, furniture in your house and a fence around your compound, bamboo has plenty of uses. It is used in construction, makes charcoal, pulp, boards, cloth, furniture, food, fuel, medicine, utensils, matchsticks, toothpicks and crafts.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Kenya Property Making Moves

21 Aug

Kenya is sometimes known as the cradle of humanity with its great safari destinations, abundant wildlife and beautiful scenery, the country has caught the imagination of property investors in the real estate boom of the late 2000s. The demand was created by the expanding middle class with disposable income where people were able to service their mortgages. Nairobi as the nations capital has been the focal point of attraction, it is the capital and largest city, the economic hub of east Africa and home to the largest expatriate community in east and central Africa.

Investors have directed efforts to service the need for well designed and quality infrastructure in safe and secure locations and are willing to pay premiums for their choices. The Kenyan government stepped in overhauling the property legislation making it more transparent with increased regulation. One of the goals has been to digitalise all land records and creating a land rent database. This has seen Kenya top the list for the most improved real estate markets in 2014 in a global ranking released by consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle. The recent report titled ‘Hot Spots 2025: Benchmarking the Future Competitiveness of Cities’ by the Economist’s Economic Intelligence Unit ranked Nairobi fifth out of seven African cities that made it to a list of 120 most competitive cities in the world. Experts in the industry have remained optimistic that the demand for property in Kenya will not burst especially when it comes to the Nairobi market. They have noted that although mortgage penetration remains low as buyers opt to pay cash demand remains high due to a growing urban population and demand for tenancy. International property firms are flocking Kenya as a result and pumping billions into the real estate market. The number of multinationals and NGOs that have either set up their operations or plan to relocate there, in addition to fast- growing domestic Kenyan businesses, have ensured that Nairobi continues to attract investments into the commercial office sector.This is a sign of confidence in this sector.

The huge diaspora community can also take part in this property boom. If there is ever a time to invest it would be now as with a booming middle class, inevitably demand for land will up the prices, especially in prime locations. Collective building projects or solo ventures can be a win win situation for most. One can invest in a quality residential piece, rent it out to the growing tenant market and then have your own home when you decide to return to Kenya. You can channel investment funds through money transfer agencies such as mukuru.com and claim your stake in this property jewel that is Kenya.

 

 

 
 

Kenya’s efforts against Ebola

18 Aug

Kenya has added its name to the list of countries that has banned travellers from parts  of Ebola hit west Africa. Kenya health Minister James Macharia said the country has closed its borders travellers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone which are the countries worst affected by ebola. This is in response to Kenya being flagged as a high risk zone because it is a major transport hub. Ebola is a viral illness of which the initial symptoms can include sudden fever, intense weaknesses, muscle pain and a sore throat then subsequently it goes to vomiting, diarrhoea and in some cases internal and external bleeding. It spreads between humans by direct contact with infected blood, bodily fluids and indirectly through contact with contaminated environments. The disease is deadly and so far over 1100 deaths have been recorded in the 2014 outbreak making it the worst in history. In Guinea the number of cases of Ebola is 510 of which there are 377 deaths, in Sierra Leone there are 783 cases of which 334 deaths have been recorded. In Liberia there are 670 cases with 355 deaths and lately Nigeria with has 12 cases and 3 deaths.ebola There is no known cure and effective containment of the illness is identification , isolation and quarantine of the suspected victim.

The World Health Organisation has urged governments not to impose blanket bans on trade and travel on Ebola affected countries but the plea seems to have fallen on deaf ears as Kenya Airways has also suspended flights to Freetown and Monrovia. The government and health officials have been on high alert and have so far test four suspected cases of Ebola coming through the nation’s borders. A Liberian national, two Nigerians and a Zimbabwean have all tested negative for the deadly virus. The health minister has also announced that all Kenyans who have returned from these 3 west African states will be subject to strict checks and will be quarantined if necessary and this is all in the interest of public health.

 

 
 

East Africa seeks to establish a monetary union

06 Aug

Five east African countries have signed a protocol to establish a monetary union, in a first step towards creating a single, common currency.At a summit in Kampala, leaders from Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda signed the framework agreement modelled after the eurozone.

Besides delivering a single currency, the monetary union is designed to result in the free movement of workers, goods, services and capital within the five countries that between them have population of 135m.

The group says it would also establish a customs union that is due to start functioning next year.This move according to the president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta will eliminate cost of juggling different currencies and unlock the promise of integration within th East African community.

Participating countries would each have to meet macro-economic criteria such as inflation targets. Moreover, a central bank for the bloc would have to be established.

The east African agreement comes 21 years after the European Union’s Maastricht Treaty was signed that led to the introduction of the Euro as Europe’s common currency.

 
 

Foundations laid for East Africa Monetary Union

05 Aug

Five east African countries have signed a protocol to establish a monetary union, in a first step towards creating a single, common currency.At a summit in Kampala, leaders from Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda signed the framework agreement modelled after the eurozone.

Besides delivering a single currency, the monetary union is designed to result in the free movement of workers, goods, services and capital within the five countries that between them have population of 135m.

The group says it would also establish a customs union that is due to start functioning next year.This move according to the president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta will eliminate cost of juggling different currencies and unlock the promise of integration within th East African community.

Participating countries would each have to meet macro-economic criteria such as inflation targets. Moreover, a central bank for the bloc would have to be established.