Embu farmers to receive pest, disease SMS alerts

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Horticulture and cash crop farmers in Embu County are now able to contain the spread of pest and diseases by getting early alerts through space technology.

The space service technology offered by a UK based space technology company will use data from satellite and extension officers on the ground to update farmers on disease and pest outbreaks.

The spread of diseases and pests like the fall armyworm has been mostly accelerated by limited access of critical information by the farmers.

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It is with this that Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization and a space technology company have started a 5-year project that will see farmers get alerts of disease and pest outbreaks via their mobile phones.

Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 22163

The program will enable policymakers and researchers to track pests at any given time and know their lifecycle and pass the information to farmers to take appropriate action.

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Meanwhile, a section of macadamia farmers from Embu County are calling on the government to lift the ban on exportation of raw nuts to allow them to sell their produce to any willing buyer.

They claim the ban is choking their venture while benefitting a few local nut processors who offer poor prices when compared to buyers from South Africa or Zimbabwe.

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Elsewhere, the Kenya Ports Authority has received four new rail mounted gantry cranes meant to improve cargo handling for the Standard Gauge Railways freight services. KPA Acting Managing Director Daniel Manduku says the cranes will improve efficiency in cargo clearance.

They were part of the six cranes ordered from China at a total cost of 2.12 billion shillings, with the first two cranes having arrived in May this year.

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