Planting Kei Apple (Dovyalis caffra) shrubs - 2018/19
Our Kei Apple seedlings
In spring 2018, Joseph, our Farm Caretaker started planting Kei Apple trees - sometimes referred to as Thorn Apple or Kayaba. These will strengthen the 2 metre high wire fence that was constructed around the farm in 2017 making it a 'living fence'. The shrubs will be plaited into the wire as they grow giving a secure barrier. As the fence is over 2 kilometres long, this will take some time but Joseph had completed more than half of this by summer 2018.
The shrubs are drought resistant, grow rapidly -
sometimes half a metre in a single season and
produce root chemicals that inhibit the growth
of other plants close by thus reducing
considerably the need to weed. The fruit is
edible and produces significantly more
Vitamin C than either oranges or lemons.
A nearby Kei Apple hedge after 5 years growth
Project Manager appointment
During the next few months we would like to appoint a Project Manager to oversee all operations for the farm and be a link between the farm and Kibera Academy. In particular, the Project Manager would:
organise and monitor existing and future projects;
oversee human resources;
ensure financial objectives are met;
seek ways to improve resource management.
Farm Equipment and supplies
As we seek to establish the farm as an efficient working environment, we need to purchase several important items of machinery and contribute to service costs:
A set of disc harrows. We already have a tractor and plough, but need to work the ground down after ploughing. We can purchase a new 14-disc, towed harrow from a local supplier. Cost: around £3,500 ($4,550);
A trailer. We need to move materials around the farm and to other locations on a regular basis so a 3-tonne trailer would be a great help.
Cost: We can purchase one locally for about £2,000 ($2,600);
Update. (13 October 2018)
Today we received a gift to cover the entire cost of the new trailer which will be delivered with the harrows during the next two or three days. Thank you.
Electricity supply. Amazingly, a neighbour recently erected poles, (but no cables) to supply power to his farm a few hundred metres along the track. These poles pass directly by our land, Ahadi Farm, so connecting to the mains supply should be straightforward. Power is already supplied to a farm a few hundred metres the other way, but we need to pay for connection charges to our site as well as sharing the cost of cabling along the road with our neighbour.
Cost: We can connect for under £1,000 ($1,300)
Pick up truck. When the crops are harvested we will need to transport the 90kg bags from Ahadi Farm to Kibera (about 40 km/25 miles). Initially we can hire a vehicle, but eventually we will need to purchase a 4x4 pick up with good ground clearance to traverse the difficult terrain. In spite of the high import and sea transport costs, it can be cost effective to purchase in the UK and ship to Mombasa. Imported vehicles must be less than 7 years old (soon to be 5 years) so we are currently looking to buy a 2011 or later vehicle.
Cost: We hope we can purchase a used vehicle similar to the one below for less than £10k.
... and above all, please pray for wisdom as we seek to take this project forward.