Mr.Aziz - vanilla beans
Exportcommodities is a leading producer of vanilla beans, Coffee beans, Sisal Fiber, Charcoal and Donkey Skin as well as the third-leading exporter of fresh produce, such as cabbages, onions and mangoes. Small farms grow most of the corn and also produce vanilla beans, Coffee beans, Sisal Fiber, Charcoal and Donkey Skin.
Agriculture in Kenya dominates Kenya's economy. 15–17 percent of Kenya's total land area has sufficient fertility and rainfall to be farmed, and 7–8 percent can be classified as first-class land. In 2006, almost 75 percent of working Kenyans made their living by farming, compared with 80 percent in 1980. About one-half of Kenya's total agricultural output is non-marketed subsistence production.
Agriculture is also the largest contributor to Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP). In 2005, agriculture, including forestry and fishing, accounted for about 24 percent of the GDP, as well as 18 percent of wage employment and 50 percent of revenue from exports.
Farming is the most important economic sector in Kenya, although less than 8 percent of the land is used for crop and feed production, and less than 20 percent is suitable for cultivation. Kenya is a leading producer of tea and coffee, as well as the third-leading exporter of fresh produce, such as cabbages, onions and mangoes. Small farms grow most of the corn and also produce vanilla beans, Coffee beans, Sisal Fiber, Charcoal and Donkey Skin.
1. Coffee beans
I wanted to learn more about Coffee beans, although I still hadn’t tasted any. This land is composed of rich volcanic soil, which in combination with the cool highlands near the equator produces some of the best Coffee beans in the world—primarily the flavorful Arabica coffee. It has been described to have bright acidity sweetness with a dry winy aftertaste and some say it has a black current flavor and is complex and savory. Similar to a wine, this coffee is grown in the perfect environmental condition, using one type of bean in the best growing place.
However you might describe this coffee, it demands a high price on the coffee market because of these qualities. Kenyans take their coffee seriously; having a Coffee Board, a Coffee School and a Coffee Research Foundation. The foundation is an institution of research and development that concentrates on sustainable prosperity for the coffee industry. The college focuses on a sustainable system for the Coffee beans industry by training and the provision of materials and hospitality services. It is also an efficient information exchange forum for students, researchers, farmers and others involved Coffee beans sectors.
Planting trees specifically for charcoal production can provide Kenyan farmers with lucrative income as well as prevent forest destruction, says an article in the Daily Nation.
It is estimated that in Kenya, 82 per cent of urban households and 34 per cent in rural areas rely on charcoal for their energy needs. While the government has policies that promote sustainable charcoal production and use, there are no incentives for farmers to engage in sustainable charcoal production, says the article.
The article explains how Dr Maxwell Kinyanjui (now deceased), a former statistician at the University of Nairobi, grew fast-maturing acacia trees on 27 acres specifically for charcoal production. After 6 years he harvested at least 1,000 bags of charcoal per acre, earning him KSh 40 million (around US $435).
“County governments should, therefore, take advantage of the existing scientific knowledge on landscapes, forestry and agroforestry to promote tree farming specifically for sustainable charcoal production,” says the article. It recommends that county chiefs liaise with experts to identify appropriate trees for charcoal production and provide seedlings to farmers, either frees or heavily subsidized.
3. Sisal Fiber
Sisal Fiber is a vegetable fibre extract from leaves of an Agave (Agave sisalana Perrine), a major tropical fibre used in agricultural and parceling twine of various kinds in addition to ropes, sacks, carpets, and upholstery. ... From there, Sisal Fiber spread to Kenya and other parts of East, Central and Southern Africa.
Despite being a key foreign income earner for the country, sisal farming has remained a “sleeping giant” in Kenya’s agribusiness ventures, trailing behind tea, coffee and horticultural produce.
The challenges facing the sisal sub-sector in Kenya hinge largely on land use politics and human rights issues rather than the viability of the crop itself.
The land factor has continued to dog the sector especially in Coast region and in Taita Taveta county in particular, where over 300,000 acres of land comprise private Sisal Fiber.
4. Vanilla beans
Premium organic bourbon vanilla beans brought in from ethical sources in Kampala, Uganda. Our partners in Kampala look for the best organic vanilla beans from farmers. The scent and flavour is very intense and works well in any culinary delight. We recommend it in a custard, crème brûlée or Madeira cake.
vanilla beans is a delicate process, requiring extensive knowledge about the plant. Farmers pollinate vanilla beans Planifolia by hand, using tweezers or a thin stick; this practice makes vanilla one of the most labor-intensive crops in the world. Once pollinated, the flowers look like bean pods with many seeds. Farmers using traditional processing blanch the pods in hot water and cover them in a warm place for several weeks until they get black, soft, and aromatic. This strong smell, reminiscent of cloves and dried fruit, is what earned Madagascar-grown vanilla the name bourbon vanilla beans. In the next phase, which lasts 5-6 weeks, the pods are stored in woolen blankets on elevated floors in farmers’ homes to stay warm and dry. The Mananara women work each day of this period, rubbing each of the beans with their fingers to clean and smooth them.
5. Donkey Skin
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the global donkey population is estimated at 44 million. The Donkey Skin role depend on the communities in which it lives and works. Usually, its traditional role includes riding, ploughing and carting, with less roles in entertainment and food production. During the last years the global demand for Donkey Skin products has escalated rapidly, with a particular interest in products from donkey’s skin. The donkey skin trade and the lesser extent associated meat trade is related to both animal and human welfare and it regards Asian, African and South American countries. The consumption of donkey meat has still been undertaken by some groups in Africa, as an inexpensive and readily accessible source of animal protein, and it resulted from the slaughter of donkeys which are either too old or too incapacitated to continue to work. Even in China the consumption of Donkey Skin continues to be a popular tradition, with Donkey Skin being highly prized.
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