Name Kitawi Farm
GGN 4049928630513
Country Kenya

Farm Profile

Kitawi Farm is a division trading through Vegpro Kenya Limited, which was established in 1999 as a commercial farm growing long day runner beans, garden peas, red bulb onion, garlic, tender stem broccoli, fine beans, and avocadoes. The farm sits on 98 hectares, of which 44 hectares is under crop production. The farm is located in semi-arid Laikipia county, Laikipia central district, Lamuria division. The farm neighbors Solio ranch to the Eastern side, and Ewaso Nyiro River that runs along the farm on the lower side.


The farm is accessible from Nyeri town through the Nyeri Ngobit road kwon as the old Nyahururu road, through Solio Ranch immediately after crossing the Ewaso Nyiro River, 50 km from Nyeri town.
The farm has a workforce of 250 employees, of which 205 are on permanent employment contract. Most of the employees originate from the local neighboring committee, who were previous working in cattle rustling.

 

Achievements

At Kitawi farm we have mastered the art of stale seedbed and precise herbicide application, which has greatly reduced weed pressures thus minimizing the number of tillage operations which in turn translates to a reduction in fuel usage.

We are constantly looking at new ways to minimize all types of waste and wastages (resources, time and energy) in our operations toward becoming lean and “fit for the future”. Reducing waste helps us to conserve natural resources, save money inputs, avoid disposal costs, reduce our environmental footprint, and maximize value for our customers.

Programs such as nutritional garden, Health-Enabled-Returns (HER project) targeting all employees mainly the young employees on family planning, HIV/AIDS education, personal hygiene, maternal health, water borne diseases, nutrition and ergonomics. Training of the emerging leaders demonstrate our commitment to improving the welfare and livelihoods of our employees and their families. Such projects aim to educate, inspire and empower Kitawi farm staff to look after their wellbeing, improve their health and uplift those around them.

Sustainability at Kitawi farm means “balancing the environment, social and economic facets of our production operations to ensure ethical, responsible and long term upliftment.” We are pleased to announce that as early as 2018, GLOBALG.A.P. has set the basic standards for other audits and we are proud to announce having attained a silver standard in M&S Field to Fork standard, we are currently working on achieving Field to Fork Gold standard.

The farm is bordering Solio ranch where animal-human conflicts is eminent. However, we have educated the community and farm staff on the importance of preserving the environment through wildlife/animals and human co-existence. The farm activities co-exist with wildlife by being corporate members of Laikipia wildlife forum, supporting conservation of the Laikipia ecosystem for the benefit of the local people. The farm has also adopted a bird feeding program in addition to having an agro-forest program where over 3,000 trees have already been established, with a projection of planting 200 bamboo annually.

With our weather patterns and location where we receive annual rainfall of 639 mm/year and temperatures ranging between a minimum 10.8 degrees Celsius to a maximum of 25.5 degrees Celsius, water is a valuable and scarce resource for the wildlife, community and the farm. We have therefore adopted a drip line irrigation system to avoid excess run off and to save water.

The farm being in the equatorial region, where day and night periods are equal, runner bean production was a challenge as the market had provided long day plants which required excessive lighting in the fields. Through thorough research and trials, we have adopted a variety that gives better production and is able to grow within the day length, saving us excessive cost of energy and labor. Also crop rotation have helped to reduce pest and disease pressure and improve soil conditions. Through our team trials, we have reduced planting space and adopted a two-row growing of tender stem broccoli that provides better aeration, reducing crop disease (Xathomonas) while still achieving the targeted yields.

The farm provides free protective clothing, lunch (food), and medical care to our staff, who are able to be more productive and to work in a safe and healthy environment. Through GLOBALG.A.P. certification, it has allowed the farm to educate the staff and the neighboring communities on better living standards, health and safety. The farm has also taken an initiative to educate the adults daily through an adult class to be more hands on with the current literate-technology environment. The farm has developed a nutritional garden that educates the staff on growing local crops and feeds their families while excess can be sold to earn a living during their retirement and healthy living. The crops grown in the nutrition garden is sold off to the staff canteen to provide all staff with a balanced, nutritious diet.

The farm has adopted integrated pest management. Every farm block is distinctly divided by Napier grass that act as a wind break and controls pests (barrier crop). We are improvising the use of pheromone traps, sticky traps, and biological beneficiaries that control pests affecting crops grown on the farm.