Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Nguruman 'Plant Clinic' Launched

A plant clinic was launched at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Magadi division grounds on 18th June, 2013. The clinic which is the eighth one to be launched in the country aimed at helping farmers identify and treat crop pests and diseases will be held twice a month on the second and the last Thursday of the month.

The occasion saw top officials from the Small-scale Horticultural Development Project (SHDP), Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) scientists Plant wise and CABI visit and give their views and contributions towards the project.

Plant wise, an initiative led by CABI which aims to improve food security and the lives of the rural poor by reducing crop losses in helping countries to establish community-based plant clinics which deliver practical advice to farmers when their crops have a problem. With collaboration from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and fisheries, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the Small-scale Horticultural Development Project (SHDP) the initiative has trained and equipped two plant doctors to run Nguruman Plant Clinic. Other partners include KEPHIS, Nguruman Irrigation Water Users Association (IWUA) and African Development Bank (ADB).
Seniour Officers from MOA head quarters handing over the clinic equipments and
reference materials to IWUA officials
CABI is a non-profit international organization that improves people's lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in Agriculture and the environment. they also have on-line information portal where farmers can access on-line in formation. The officials appreciated the availability of internet services at the ALIN Marifa centre citing  that, it will provide further information to plant doctors and also directly to the farmers. The Maarifa centre will be also used as dissemination point for online materials regarding plant health and  diseases.

The clinic has been equipped with necessary tools to diagnose diseases including micro-organisms and competent staff who have been taken through intensive training on how to handle diverse range of crop diseases. They have also been equipped with picture charts, agrochemical handbook, reference books among other relevant materials. 

KARI will also provide training to community nurses who will assist on surveying farmers’ crops to identify infected crops and also alert farmers in case of an outbreak. The nurses will also educate the community on the importance of plant clinic.
Plant doctors attending to farmers during the Launch
Farmers are expected to carry samples of the affected crops to the clinic where they will be diagnosed for recommendations and control. The farmers will have to purchase the chemicals necessary for treatment. As part of the Small-scale Horticultural Development Project, IWUA will set up an agrochemical outlet chop where farmers will be purchasing farm inputs at an affordable price.

Farmers applauded the initiative noting that losses due to unidentified pests and diseases will drastically reduce. Plant wise has already Launched 8 clinics and are planning to launch 59 by the end of the year.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Local administration relocation set to boost Maarifa centre services

Construction is almost complete for local administration offices, Olkiramatian west location just besides Nguruman Maarifa centre. The building is its finishing stages and will house the area chief and his security team. This is set to boost services offered at the Maarifa centre since majority of community members will be visiting  seeking administrative services as opposed to when the offices were in Olkiramatian market, about 15 kilometres away.

Local Administration block under construction 
Speaking to the Maarifa centre staff during a follow up visit to access the construction progress and damage caused by flash floods, the area Member of County Assembly Magadi ward Hon. Peter Pariken expressed his appreciation for the services offered to members of his community and showed concern to work with the Maarifa centre to market his area and ensure more programmes are included to cater for different community needs.

Some of the local administration officers are ICT training graduands at the Maarifa centre and also regular users of other Maarifa centre services. Notably, Chief Elijah Sereu has been lately utilizing the Maarifa centre to do his on-line studies and submitting his assignments for a administration  studies degree he is doing at Kenyatta University.

The building as seen from the Maarifa centre
He says that the Maarifa centre has been instrumental in his life since he learned his computer usage skills here which inspired him to buy his own laptop computer and now he is using the same facility to do his on-line studies. He urges the young people to take up the task  and utilize the facility to shape up their future.

"I have been one of the beneficiaries of Nguruman Maarifa centre and it has shaped my passion for ICT. I am now a university student and taking my studies from the Maarifa centre Library which is WIFI enabled..." said Mr. Sereu