Having finished filming in Embu
, the team headed on to Kikuyu, a small town on the outskirts of Nairobi, to meet farmer Samuel Kamau whose shamba was in need serious need of a shape up!
Samuel has been an active farmer for many years and owns cows, chickens and a greenhouse. However, he has been struggling to turn his small shamba into an active and prosperous business.
Help was at hand from the Shamba Shape Up team and our experts! A cow expert from Coopers explained the importance of good breeding when it comes to keeping cattle for both diary and meat. He suggested using artificial insemination (AI) to get an assured breed, and even a specific sex (sexed semen). They also discussed the importance of keeping records so that Samuel could know when his animals were likely to come on heat. Understanding heat is key to AI, as this tells you when it’s the best time for insemination.
As well as cows, we looked at Samuel’s chickens. Samuel raises chickens for meat, but had been having problems getting them to a good weight for sale. We discussed the importance of proper feeding in achieving this. We also looked at the chicken’s hygiene and health as there had been some issues which were related to the bird’s lack of vaccination at an early age.
Peter, from Royal Seed, becomes the first ever mzungu (white) presenter on the show!
Finally, the crew spent time inside Samuel’s greenhouse. Kenya Highland Seed Company
, better known as Royal Seed, sent Peter Francombe as an expert to explain why it is good practise to plant certified seeds instead of the seeds from last year’s harvest. Peter (the show’s first ever mzungu expert!) discussed the importance of using seed that suits your region and weather.
Samuel had been growing capsicum plants inside his greenhouse
Samuel had been planting capsicums, which had been infected with a disease called Powdery mildew. This disease is caused by a lack of calcium in the soil, which we confirmed with a soil test from Soil Cares. Calcium deficiency can be easily solved by adding CAN fertiliser to the soil.
Some of the capsicums had diseases such as Powdery mildew, such as this one
Next week Shamba Shape-Up will be moving on to a farm in Meru, where we shall update you from next!