About Pumpmakers and solar pumps

PM Pumpmakers GmbH is an Austrian solar company, specializing in the research and development of power and water solutions, using renewable energy sources.

To meet the needs of a fast-growing market, Pumpmakers focuses on innovative solar pump systems for the supply of rural and urban drinking water, water well construction, water well drilling, and agricultural purposes.hand pump

Pumpmakers Solar Pumps can easily be set up in new water wells or to replace pre-installed water pumps, such as hand water pumps, generator-powered water pumps or windmill water pumps that are typically found in rural and remote areas.

Of particular interest to farmers is their Irrigation System, which is a drip irrigation system to irrigate fields with a size from 500m².

You can contact them here: office@pumpmakers.com



New information resource for the semi-arid tropics

ICRISAT (less of a mouthful than ‘The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics’) has announced a new information product they have named ‘EXPLOREit@ICRISAT‘. EXPLOREit (for short) is a web-based system that automatically assembles and updates packages of information about their main subject areas. ICRISAT has initially defined 35 subjects across the spectrum of crops, topics, geographic locations, systems and the knowledge/data stores on which they work.

As they put it:

EXPLOREit weaves together our current knowledge on each of these subjects from across our websites, databases and the internet, making it easily accessible from a single-page starting point. There, the knowledge is sub-organized by tabs so that learners can focus on their areas of interest. For example, for each of our five focus crops the tabs offer the learner an overview, knowledge of the crop’s botany, facts and figures about the crop, releases of improved varieties, past and current major projects on that crop, publications, databases, and public awareness stories.

This is an extraordinarily extensive resource, so much so that it it is easy to get diverted into another topic of interest. My exploratory trip resulted in a visit to uniBRAIN, and I’m sure you will get diverted as well: after all, that’s what it’s there for.

(ICRISAT is a non-profit, non-political organization that conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with a wide array of partners throughout the world.)

Grants, funding and fellowships relating to African agriculture

I hope you’ve noticed that FARA has a page on grants, funding and fellowships relating to Africa, centred on agriculture, but extending to horticulture, climate change and related field.

The Forum for Agricultural research in Africa (FARA) is an apex organization, bringing together and forming coalitions of major stakeholders in agricultural research and development in Africa.


Youth Agro-Environment Initiative will hold training on OYSTER MUSHROOM FARMING on Saturday August 10th 2013.

The training will take place between 10:00 am – 3:pm at the Kenya Institute of Organic Farming, located in Juja, a few kilometres from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

Charges are Ksh 3500 per person.

Call 0714211644 or email yagrein@gmail.com to book a place


Organic Sack Gardening, Waste and Urban Livestock

The latest edition of New Agriculturist (2013-3) is now online at www.new-ag.info. Urban agriculture, for years outlawed by municipal authorities, offers solutions to numerous urban problems, including poverty, food and nutrition insecurity, unemployment and waste management.

Here are some suggestions to dip into first.

Organic sack gardening in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, 500 people with limited access to land are supplementing their food and income by growing vegetables in sacks. In addition to enabling families to consume vegetables more regularly, sack gardening has also empowered women, who most often organise and take care of the gardens.  read article

Transforming waste and wasteland in Dakar
In Dakar, Senegal, micro-gardening projects are re-greening urban spaces previously lost to rubbish dumping and car parks. New waste collection and sorting practices have reduced pollution and provided raw material for compost making. read article

And closer to home, Livestock in the city: separating fact from fiction
In the absence of evidence, policies are often based on the prejudice that urban livestock keeping is unsafe (credit: © Kate Holt/Internews Network)In 2005, a study was initiated by the University of Nairobi and ILRI to understand the risks and benefits of urban dairying, to contribute to pro-poor policy and create good practice guidelines for risk reduction. The study revealed some surprising results. read article

Mushroom Growing Resources in Kenya

This is a highly disorganised collection of resources relating to mushroom growing and training in Kenya. If some of the information is out of date, it would help everybody if you leave a comment at the bottom. Also, if you know of a training course, perhaps you would also leave a comment.

The Agricultural Information Resource Centre (AIRC), Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya (email: agriinfocentre@yahoo.com) published in 2009 a colour  booklet entitled ‘Guide to Growing Mushroom’.

http://cosdep.wordpress.com/category/cosdeps-demo-center/ COSDEP grows oyster mushroom for sale and training purposes. They also sell mushroom substrate  to farmers. Being near to Nairobi which is the main market of this useful product is an added advantage. They also give mushroom production as a course to farmers upon arrangements. Tel No: +254722460769 or +254708183547. Email: coskenya@yahoo.com or coskenya@gmail.com.

Benflex were providing materials. Call for booking & more information: BENFLEX INDUSTRIES LTD, Tel: 821178/9, 0714 276626, Email: info@benflex.co.ke

Fully Certified Mushroom Growing Course

Due to public demand, the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has developed a comprehensive training programme at the University Campus for training in growing of the most popular mushrooms.

Course Dates for 2012:

  • OCT 24-26, NOV 21-23, DEC 05-07

Course Charges
KShs. 10,000/= per a participant Accommodation and meals – each participant to make own arrangement. CALL FOR MORE DETAILS: 0724256696 / 0736524200

According to Grace Wanene, you can purchase ready made sterilized substrate from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology at Juja, 36 km northeast of Nairobi, along Thika-Nairobi Superhighway. Moi University at Chepkoilel sells hybrid mushroom spawns.

Alex Njenga is on Radio Inooro, Coro, Kameme and KBC (Mali Shambani and Sikio ya Mkulima) and is a keen promoter of mushroom farming.

In 2008, I bought the excellent “The Mushroom Manifesto” as a .pdf from mushymart.net, but regrettably their website has closed. If anybody knows where the copyright holder is, I would be interested in republishing it. While on the subject of books, I cannot recommend those by Paul Stamets highly enough. “Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms” is not cheap, (around 2000/- if you can find a copy) but it’s an enormous resource to have.

Lastly, try ringing nearby universities. I’m sure I have seen extension programmes in the past – and if you find something do share it with everybody with a comment below 🙂

Oyster Mushroom Training Manual

Video about their Oyster Mushroom Training Manual from BioSafe Technologies (gaterepaul@gmail.com, +254 729248)

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