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    Coccidiôze sblarixhaedje houfès plomes

    Coccidiosis' global impact is estimated at Sh36.5 billion ($300 million) causing poor performance, morbidity, and mortality. 

    Coccidiosis is a disease caused by a parasite that affects the gut wall of chickens. The parasite lives in the gut and is transferred to others chickens when it is released through feaces from an infected chicken in the form of a cyst.

    The cycle of infection continues when it’s then eaten by another chicken thus spreading the disease. Depending on the number of cysts eaten a chicken may not be affected especially if they are few. If too many are eaten the chicken will succumb to Coccidiosis.

    Early signs of Coccidiosis include loss of appetite among the flock which eventually stop eating. They then become hunched over with ruffled feathers. The damage to the gut wall reduces the ability of the gut to absorb nutrients resulting in weight loss and diarrhea with bloody chicken droppings.

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    The best way of preventing the disease is by poultry farmers ensuring that chickens are exposed to very low levels of the disease (oocysts) as well as building their immunity. Chicken pens should be cleaned well and extremely thoroughly between flocks. If a pen is not cleaned properly after the flock leaves the pen then the next flock is exposed to high levels of Coccidiosis.

    Poultry farmers with infected birds can treat them using an anti-coccidial medication that prevents the spread of the disease. If the disease is already in the gut then farmers should treat their birds using strong antibiotic therapy. Ensure that the flock has access to multivitamins and probiotics.

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    In order for one to guard their flock against any outbreaks that in most cases result in immense losses, experts advise farmers to embrace high standards of hygiene by ensuring that the poultry pen is kept clean and dry. In addition, disinfect the pen regularly; ensure good ventilation in and around the pen.

    A vaccine is available commercially, however, its administration can be complex and needs the correct environment to work, realistically this is not currently practical for backyard chicken holdings.

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    5761231547 25ca47d7ef bFarmers are losing more than 80 per cent of their crops before harvest to the deadly Striga weed, which is attacking multiple crops yet there are simple non-chemical ways of dealing with it.

    Striga, which is nicknamed ‘witch weed’ attacks rice, maize, millet, and sorghum, among other crops in most parts of Rift Valley, Western, Nyanza, Central, and Eastern.

    This weed is parasitic and it creeps into the holes during planting. The weed is thin but highly destructive.


    The weed attacks the root system of the crops and extracts moisture and minerals. This leads to poor development and eventual death due to malnutrition, Caleb Adede of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) says.

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    Minimum tillage is one of the leading ways of dealing with this weed. It involves sowing without digging after the previous harvest.

    Minimum tillage gives limited disturbance to the soil besides reducing chances of multiple seed germination.

    Minimum tillage also reduces soil moisture loss. Dismal or no rain soon after planting does not threaten the crop at its tender age.

    At the same time, sufficient moisture gives rise to strong seedlings which can resist the impacts of the weed, according to Access Agriculture.

    Rotation and intercropping

    Crop rotating and intercropping methods would help in reorganising the growing pattern to ensure the propagation of less vulnerable crops with susceptible ones. In this case, maize can be grown in one season and be intercropped with legumes such as cow peas, mucuna, and other cover crops.

    Cover crops not only smoother the weeds when grown with maize which is tall, but also reduce sunlight penetration into the stem and floor areas of the field, therefore, limiting the synthesis of food in the weed, leading to death.

    Cover crops, being leafy, would increase the soil’s fertility after harvesting following the decay of the heavy biomass.

    If the cover crops manage to smoother most of the weeds before maturity, this would also break the reproduction cycle. The repeated practice would eventually lead to the dying out of the witchweed.

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    Resistant varieties

    The use of resistant varieties is a short-lived effective reprieve for farmers. The weed will continue multiplying and affecting vulnerable crops which may not have alternative resistant varieties.

    Rice growers can adopt Nerica 2, 3, 4, 8, and 10 varieties, which are highly resistant to the witch. Nerica 5, 9, and 17 are moderately resistant.

    For maize, the Imazapry Resistant variety can help farmers dodge this deadly witch.

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    A maize 299981 pixahive

    Small-scale farmers can maximise profits by reducing post-harvest losses to animals and other environmental agents.

    Having constant supply for the market through the year means sustained revenue flow, which would in turn shield farmers against low prices as they rush to sell their produce at throw-away prices for fear of post-harvest loss.

    Discussions from a two-day agricultural investment forum in Tanzania have shown that socio-economic transformation requires aggressive and sustained interventions to make Africa the global food basket.

    United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization says 30 per cent of food is lost after harvesting through poor post-produce handling procedures. Poor storage exposes yields to destructive animals and weather conditions which reduce the quantity and quality of the produce.

    At the same time, discussants at the Dar-es-salaam forum said private and public partnerships would ensure markets are accessible.

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    “Markets are at the center of the agricultural ecosystem for multi-sectoral development. Governments and private investors need to ensure that sufficient roads, warehouses, processing facilities, and other infrastructure are in place to get products to increasingly urbanising markets,” six authors said in a joint publication.

    In addition to tearing into new regional and international markets, the partnership should enrich farmers with market information to deliver products when prices are highest.

    “With unreliable information on production trends and prices, a few smallholders engage in demand-driven or market-informed production.

    This leads to poor production planning and cycles of surpluses and deficits.” the team says.

    Proper water harvesting, conservation, and management can triple yields as well as help in cutting irrigation costs for the 33 million small-scale African farmers, hence maximum profits.

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    Similarly, agribusiness returns can be maximised by value addition for regional and international markets instead of raw export.

    FAO says agribusiness can pull 150 million people in Africa out of hunger because 60 per cent of global arable land is in the continent.

    The authors of the report published on the Africa Business are Laura Gurski, Xavier Mesnard, Bart Dijk, Jaco Prinsloo , Yuvesh Bedassi and Wim Plaizier.

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