Saturday, 28 January 2012

Nutrition management of stress in Kenya

Stress is the most common cause of sickness worldwide today among the youth, and the population at large causing unspeakable suffering, use of huge amounts of money in medical bills and loss of numerous working days. Stress refers to non specific response of the body to any demand or strain made upon it.The aim of stress management is to help the individual become more resilient and able to cope rather than to take away the stressful life events. A well balanced diet is crucial in promoting health and stress relief. Vigilance is required when making food choices for stress management which should be as natural as possible, as there is a lot of junk food posing as health food for stress relief in the market. Junk food is stress causing!
Foods to eat for stress relief
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates in stress management triggers release of the brain neurotransmitter serotonin which has soothing effect. Good sources of carbohydrates include rice, potatoes, green bananas, bread, air-popped popcorn etc
Fresh fruits and vegetables: Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in order to improve absorption of the amino acid L-Tryptophan, which causes the body to release serotonin making you feel good and relaxed as a result of stress relief.
Protein: Include sufficient protein food in your daily diet for effective stress management. Consuming adequate protein stabilizes blood sugar and prevents emotional swings and fatigue leading to stress relief. Good protein sources include meat, mushrooms, nuts, hard boiled eggs, Tofu and other soy products, dairy, beans.
Fiber: Stress causes stomach cramps and constipation. You require at least 25 grams of fiber daily to keep your digestive system working well during stress management for effective stress relief. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains are natural sources of fiber and are good for stress relief. Eat whole fruits instead of juice and whole-grain instead of processed grain for better stress management.
Unsaturated fats: Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) like Omega 3’s are great for stress management as they can prevent and relief anxiety and depression. Good food sources of EFAs include salmon, tuna, sardines, Fish oil pills, and walnuts. Cook your food with a small amount of oil daily to supply EFAs for stress relief.
Water: Take 2 litres of water daily for good health, stress management and stress relief.

Foods to avoid for good health
Saturated fats: Consumption of foods rich in saturated fats cause obesity and put unnecessary stress on the cardiovascular system. A high fat diet is believed to contribute various cancers.
Sugar: Sugar has no essential nutrients and only provides a short-term boost of energy resulting in exhaustion of the adrenal glands which can lead to irritability, poor concentration and depression.
Caffeine: This is found in coffee, tea, and chocolate. It causes the release of adrenaline undermining stress relief. There is a link between caffeine intake, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Reduce the consumption of caffeine gradually during stress management to avoid developing withdrawal symptoms.
Alcoholic drinks: Alcohol is a major cause of stress; unfortunately most people take to drinking alcohol for stress relief. This undermines stress management as Alcohol stimulates the secretion of adrenaline leading to nervous tension, irritability and insomnia. Alcohol also impairs the ability of the liver to detoxify the body, while several toxins are produced during stress counteracting stress relief.
Smoke: Many people turn to cigarettes for stress management which seem to work in the short term but are harmful in the long run. Cigarette smoking is said to be responsible for a variety of cancers.
Salt: Excess sodium increases the blood pressure, exhausts adrenal glands, and causes emotional instability. Use potassium rather than sodium salt and avoid junk foods which are high in salt.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Lucrative strawberries farming in Kenya


Strawberry gardening is a multi-billion dollar business around the world.The fruit is a high value crop in Kenya for export and local market. Strawberries are very juicy health-packed fruits which can be eaten whole, made into fruit salads , jam,Milk shake and smoothie juice. Gardening of strawberries by farmers  in Central Kenya region has traditionally been for export to Europe. However an equally lucrative market for the strawberry leaves which used to be thrown away is likely to emerge .

To order a copy of our Strawberry Farming Manual 

Strawberry Leaves
Potted Strawberry plant
There is potential for the leaves to be bought by decorating  florist firms in the major towns around the country. According to a florist from Nairobi the demand for bouquets, which was formerly limited to offices, churches and events, is now expanding to individuals, with demand for home flowers and decorations growing in the recent past. This is causing the  demand for the strawberry leaves, which are an important component of the bouquets due to their beautiful shape . Strawberries’ gardening is  a golden opportunity particularly for the youth in Kenya for self employment and livelihood improvement . Strawberries are easy to grow, require minimal land and thrive well in a wide range of temperatures ranging from mild to hot. Basic requirements for strawberry gardening include, water, compost or farm yard manure, garden shears, garden spades, Garden Trowels, Planting material, Rot tillers and Shovels ,recommended pesticides and fungicides, produce packaging materials and capital.Strawberry varieties suitable for growing in Kenya include Chandler, Douglas(Two most popular varieties),  Tioga selva,Tristar, Domanil, Rabunda,pajaro and Tribute.The crop grows well in warm to hot climate and does not tolerate freezing. Some main diseases affecting the crop include Fusarium Oxysponium, Botrytis and Fusarium Wilt.
Strawberry Grown in Bags

Avoid growing strawberry on land where the following crops were planted the previous season, due to susceptibility to Verticillium wilt a viral disease controlled through crop rotation only.
Tomatoes, capsicums, Eggplant/brinjals, okra

Strawberries gardening starts with thorough land preparation in order to raise a vigorous crop. A bed raised to 15cm with a width of 1metre by any convenient length should be prepared, and well decomposed manure incorporated into the soil at a rate of one medium bucket per square metre. Then planting holes are made at a spacing of 30cm from row to row and 30cm from plant to plant. In strawberries gardening propagation is done using vegetative material namely splits of the strawberries crown. Planting is done after thorough watering of the bed and  the roots be are well covered but not too deep so as to prevent rotting of the stem.  Mulching is a recommended post planting management practice in strawberries gardening in order to conserve moisture, control weeds and keep strawberries clean. Irrigate daily in the afternoon during the first month after planting for good crop establishment and 2-3 times a week from the second month of gardening onwards.De-blossoming and removal of strawberry flowers is recommended for the first 2 months to avoid premature fruiting, which may lead to stunting and poor development of the crop.

Harvesting of strawberry fruits starts 2½months -3months after planting. Thinning to 2- 3 splits per crown should be done every 7 months to allow rejuvenation and increase strawberry yields. Runners and old leaves are removed in strawberries gardening in a practice called pruning or stripping.  Flowering is continuous with adequate watering with a pause in the cold season.The lifespan of the crop is 3 years.During the gardening period foliar feeds may be applied to boost the yields. Rooting media or enzymes which include plantone, Anatone1, Anatone( a broad spectrum for roots, flower stimulation and fruit retention) may enhance strawberry plant establishment. Tie the top end of the cuttings, then dip strawberries cuttings into the enzyme solution  for 42 hrs. Put fertile soil into plastic bags and plant the cuttings ensuring two nodes are below the soil level, then water frequently.Seeking knowledge on gardening  of strawberries is a necessary step during the planning period. Information on strawberry gardening is required for all serious visionary agribusinesses, as a mistake made cannot be corrected before 3 years are over . Strawberry cultivation is an expanding industry in Kenya with  great potential for growth.  

Our Products and Services 

We offer the following products and services at affordable fees.

  1. Agribusiness plans preparation
  2. Agribusiness information e-manuals

An Agribusiness Plan is the road-map to success in any farming business. An Agribusiness Plan preparation is therefore crucial for success of any farming business. This is the document which will support your agribusiness to grow, seek funding from financial institutions , and monitor performance over a period of time for continuous improvement. Agribusiness plan is a management tool which will help you to avoid expensive mistakes in your farming business. FAILURE TO PLAN IS PLANNING TO FAIL. MAKE SURE YOU PREPARE AN AGRIBUSINESS PLAN BEFORE STARTING YOUR FARMING BUSINESS.The other important milestone is to get the right technical information.
a)       Watermelon farming e-manual 
c)       Passion fruit farming e-manual
d)      Strawberry farming e-manual
g)      Tomatoes farming e-manual
h)      Capsicum farming e-manual
i)       Greenhouse farming e-manual
j)       Oyster mushroom Farming e-manual
k)      Tissue culture Bananas farming e-manual
l)       Upland arrowroot, Cassava, Sweet potatoes and yams e-manual
m)    Poultry Broilers, layers and improved indigenous/ Kienyeji e-manual
n)    Value addition and Agro-processing e-manual:The e-manual contains Manufacture of Fruit juices, yogurt, Fruit Jam, Small scale ice-cream making ,Tomato sauce processing, bread baking & cakes baking, cake decoration, vegetable solar drying,  Banana crisps and flour processing, cassava fermenting and flour processing, Soya milk and peanut butter processing.    

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