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Simple innovations to help you run your Organic Farm

~By Bernard Wainaina,Profarms Consultants
Twitter handle;@PROFARMS
Cell;+254722659313{SMS & Whatsapp ONLY}

Innovation is crucial for the growth of any sector.

Agribusiness is a not an exception.

In these series, we unveil innovations to help you control ticks,make biogas from chicken droppings and prevent
soil diseases in tomato greenhouses.

PART ONE

»Trap that kills ticks in pastures

Most farmers struggle to curb ticks by spraying their animals with acaricides.

This, however, costs a lot of money, besides the chemicals polluting the
environment.

A university professor at Egerton University is keen on helping farmers’ eliminate ticks using a cheaper method.

The device dubbed Tick Trap, kills ticks using biological methods.

“Tick Trap targets non-parasitic ticks, that is those in pastures before they attack animals to cause diseases,” Prof Maranga, a parasitologist, says.

Up to 97 per cent of ticks are found in vegetation where animals graze, she says.

“A good number of control methods target ticks on animals, the reason why most farmers struggle to
curb the parasites in vain.

Ticks spend most of their time in pastures, where they wait to attach
themselves to cows, sheep or goats.”

Animals produce carbon dioxide, which attracts the parasites.

The trap uses a similar principle to lure ticks.

“It uses attractants in form of chemicals normally produced by animals and male feeding ticks,”

Maranga says of the device made of aluminium plates and patented by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (Kipi).

The Tick Trap has four sections namely, the outer and inner plates for holding killing agents; a metal
tube at the centre, which holds dry ice that produces carbon dioxide to attract ticks; a plate at the top of the device, which dispenses pheromones
and lastly a rod that secures the trap firmly on the ground.

“The biological killing agent used in the trap is neem(Mwarubaine), but one can also use fungi extracts.

The ice and the pheromone attracts the ticks to the trap.

The neem then kills the ticks as they strive to reach the pheromone.

The trap covers a radius of seven
metres and takes two hours to wipe out 90 per cent of ticks.”

According to Prof Maranga, when placed in pastures, the traps wipe out ticks faster.

Therefore, it is a preventive measure to mop up ticks from pastures as it does not kill ticks attached to an
animal.

Once a tick is infected, it transfers the killing agents to others in pasture.

The trap has successfully been used by farmers in Nyanza and Eastern regions.

“I have not mass-produced the gadget because of lack of funds, but I am working on that. I hope to
get a sponsor who will help me take the product to farmers.”

The trap, which costs between Sh500 and Sh1,000, can be used by both large and smallholder farmers.

It can also be used in game parks and by pastoralists.

“I developed the device to offer farmers a friendly method to eliminate ticks.
The chemicals are locally
available.

Ticks are deadly to livestock.

A female tick lays about 10,000 eggs in the grass or soil, so it is imperative we eliminate them in their habitats.”
post-sig”>The African Story as told by Africans.

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