Fertiliser for plants and animals that works wonders

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Clockwise,Ms Elizabeth Muriu,Ol Kalou Township with her chicken, Mr Gregory Simiyu demonstrates the size of a maize cob at a plot, lastly in Machakos County Mr Evans Kyalo showing his tomatoes
Clockwise,Ms Elizabeth Muriu,Ol Kalou Township with her chicken, Mr Gregory Simiyu demonstrates the size of a maize cob at a plot, lastly in Machakos County Mr Evans Kyalo showing his tomatoes

Ever heard of a fertiliser that is administered to both animals and plants? Well, a foliar fertiliser, which originates from Malaysia, is causing plenty of excitement among farmers in Kenya and the rest of the East African region. And yes, it is organic.
The liquid fertiliser, traded under the name DI Grow, is extracted from the Acadian seaweed. Seaweeds are marine algae found on seabed in northern Atlantic Ocean and are said to be highly rich in nutrients and well-balanced in macro and micro elements.
Those who use this product are talking of double and triple increases in yields. “My dairy cow could only produce five litres of milk a day. When I started administering Di Grow fertiliser, milk production has increased to 15 litres daily,” says Trans Nzoia farmer Gregory Simiyu.
Similar stories are being narrated in Nyeri, Machakos, Nyandarua and Bungoma counties, where the Smart Farmer spoke to some of the farmers who apply this foliar fertiliser on either animals or plants. Farmers involved in livestock, fisheries, poultry or piggery, as well as growers of horticultural crops, fruits, flowers and other cash crops, say applying the fertiliser brings double benefits; it reduces the cost of inputs and increases produce.
Mr David Wanjala, a horticultural farmer in the Mt Elgon region, says that he once harvested a watermelon weighing 17kg; something he initially thought was not possible until he was introduced to this fertiliser a year ago. Since then, his watermelons do not weigh less than 10kg, thanks to the use of the foliar fertiliser. He has also been applying it on onions and Irish potatoes and the yields on his threeacre farm in Pituti Village have doubled.
In Nyeri, Mr Gideon Muriuki supplements conventional fertiliser with DI Grow, applying it on coffee, cabbages and capsicum. Last year, his capsicums grew so huge that they initially faced rejection at the local market on suspicion that they might have been genetically modified.
“I had applied double the recommended dose, keen to improve the yields. What I got were abnormally large capsicums, with three of them weighing a kilo, prompting suspicious customers to reject them, resulting in losses for me,” recalls Mr Muriuki, whose farm is located on the Karatina- Mukurweini road. Part of Mr Muriuki’s two-acre farm has coffee and in the last three years, his cherry production has increased from an average of 15 kilos per tree to 35 kilos. He now harvests between 4,000kg and 6,000kg annually from250 coffee bushes.
Dynapharm, the Malaysian company behind the production and distribution of the foliar organic fertiliser, says it is well-balanced in terms of macro and micro nutrients, which are the requirements for healthy plant growth. They include nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulphur.
The micro-nutrients are iron, zinc, copper, molybdenum and boron. The foliar also contains natural plant growth hormones – auxins, gibberellins, and cytokines, and is rich in humic acid. It can be used on all types of plants, cattle, pigs, poultry, fish, sheep and goats.
The product, developed with a formula patented in the United States, has been embraced by farmers in America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. It comes in two types – DI Grow Green, also called growth booster and DI Grow Red, described as a fruits and flowers’ enhancer.
Both are packaged in 250ml, one-litre and four-litre containers. The green fertiliser is used on both plants and animals, while the red one is applied on plants alone in the flowering and fruiting stage. According to the manufacturer, the attributes of this fertiliser include healthy growth of plant leaves, stems and roots. It is also associated with boosting the immunity of plants against diseases and harsh weather. Soaking propagation materials for a few hours before planting quickens germination, while continued use gradually improves the soil’s physical condition.
In animals, it increases appetites, resulting in faster growth and mixed with fodder, it boosts the nutritional and biological value of animal feed. Pigs, goats, sheep and broiler farmers say it helps their animals gain weight within a short time, poultry farmers specialising in layers, attribute increased egg production to the fertiliser.
Those rearing kienyeji (indigenous) chickens credit it for multiplication of their flock. “Since January, my flock has grown from five to 90 chickens. Not a single bird has died, while many farmers complain of deaths from cold weatherrelated infections in Nyandarua County,” says Ms Elizabeth Muriu, a resident of Ol Kalou Township. Ms Muriu, who is using a section of the rooftop of her parents’ unfinished house to rear the indigenous chickens, says she was sceptical at first as she has always associated fertilisers with plants. She now acknowledges that this fertiliser has helped the birds to develop resistance against common diseases, while egg production has increased.
In Machakos County, Mr Evans Kyalo, also attributes his increased earnings from tomatoes to DI Grow. He first tested it in 2013 on capsicums and watermelons and was impressed with the results. “The watermelons were huge and sweeter and I once received five different traders, all begging to buy the fruits. After using the fertiliser, the harvest from my one-and-half acre increased from 10 to 30 tonnes,” says the trained accountant, who quit his job in 2010 to go into farming.
On tomatoes, the farmer says, the fertiliser has made him reduce the cost of inputs and increase yields from his leased one-acre farm near Wamunyu Township in Mwala Sub-County. He irrigates his crop with water from River Athi and the total cost of inputs is about Sh100,000. One acre yields 200 boxes of tomatoes each selling at between Ksh2,000 and Ksh3,000, translating into a net profit of more than Ksh300,000.
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