Igot a new farm assistant, thanks to Adenya, who kept his promise on looking for me a worker who is not only diligent but schooled in matters farming.
“This is the guy I told you about. He is Wekesa. He’s from my village, may be 3km away from my home,” Adenya said as he brought Wekesa to my farm last week.
Wekesa is a well-built man and for the few days he has been at Mkulima Mixed Farm, he seems focused and ready to work.
In one of my conversations with him two days ago, he intimated that he thinks Adenya is eyeing an elective post. “I am one of the several youths he has gotten jobs,” Wekesa said innocently.
I also learnt that Adenya promised Wekesa, who has two certificates in farm management, a serious job when he went home for Christmas in what looked like a pre-election pledge to local elders.
Wekesa has hit the ground running, and so far, he has come forward with several proposals.
“Ehh Mkulima, I have noted your farm needs some machinery,” he started.
“Yes, I have been thinking about that for quite some time now,” I cut him short.
“What I have in mind is a water pump, a milking machine, and may be a tri-cycle to be taking the milk to the cooperative” I added with a grin.
“No, no, no, no! I think the first thing you need is a posho mill,” he said.
“A posho mill!? What do we need it for?” I asked.
“You need to diversify your business, furthermore the mills are fetching more money these days,” he said showing he had some experience with one.
I did not want to get into an argument with my new staff knowing very well what I have gone through since Muchiri left.
But I kept wondering why Wekesa was pushing for a posho mill yet I do not grow maize? I wished the matter away.
The following day, Wekesa was at it again.
“You don’t keep chickens in your farm?” he asked looking concerned.
“Bwana Wekesa, this being a small-scale mixed farm, it is good to have few enterprises that one can focus on,” I explained to him in a diplomatic manner.
“But do you know you can increase the milk production of your cows and reduce the cost of feeds by having chickens around, especially this dry season?” he asked sounding informed.
And continued, “Chicken can provide many things, besides meat and eggs. First, your herbs, spices and strawberries will benefit from manure which has more nitrogen for vegetative growth.”
Wekesa did not stop as I looked astonished.
“Chicken manure has high urea, which is a non-protein source that is converted into protein by micro-organism in the cow’s rumen. This helps the cow to use the feed more efficiently and easily, making the animal better nourished with whatever feed is available this dry season.”
To look informed, I asked what I thought was a ‘technical’ question.
“But experts say feeding urea to dairy cattle is potentially dangerous. Don’t we need expert advice before introducing urea into the ration of our dairy cows?”
He retorted, “I am aware poultry manure can carry bacteria that causes salmonella and coccidiosis diseases and animal consuming that may become ill, but that can be taken care of in a way I will tell you.”
What you need to do is dry the manure properly in the sun to kill any bacteria, then feed dairy cows with about 1-2kg of the manure-concentrate mixture once a day,” he advised.
“Why?” I asked.
“If you feed more than 30 per cent of poultry manure, the animal may lose appetite and digestibility,” he noted.
“Don’t give the manure mixture to young cattle less than five months old, or to sheep and goats less than three months old because they contract salmonella and coccidiosis easily, and are not able to digest chicken manure well since their rumen hasn’t developed fully,” he added to my amazement.
Though Wekesa seems well-informed on various agricultural practices, I am still wondering why a posho mill.
On the other hand, the idea of chicken rearing seems viable even though I know one or two may land on Wekesa’s plate, but I would not mind that as long as he brings in more profit.
So far, so good. I am happy to have found someone who has relieved me the heavy workload I had ever since Muchiri left.