THIS weekend we are going farming. If you are a professional or amateur farmer, the Kenyan Saturday Nation is not to be missed.
It carries a “Seeds of Gold” Supplement which has a lot of useful information about farming, and always features a successful and inspiring farmer. I have the “Nation” of 15 April in my hands and I am reading about this date palms farmer on page 27.
The article is titled: “It’s a Date with super profits for farmer growing lucrative fruit”. We are talking about a 400-acre farm named Kutch-Kibwezi. Besides date palms, :the farm is home to oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, bananas, mangoes, water melons, maize, cassava, tomatoes, onions, green grams, pigeon peas, brinjals, and okra.
“We have 772 mature date palms and 1,200 young ones. Our main specialty is fresh dates, which we grow for sale locally and abroad”, says RG the farmer who also has interests in real estate. He narrates how the farm was obtained: “We bought the orchard from an Indian ‘firmly’ over a year ago, to continue a tradition started in India”.
What does “an Indian firmly” mean? “Firmly” is an adverb, and as we know adverbs, qualify verbs. We have all reasons to believe that the writer did not want to refer to an “Indian firmly” but rather to an “Indian family”.
So our sentence should read: “We bought the orchard from an Indian ‘family’ over a year ago, to continue a tradition started in India”. We are given some insights into the practice adopted at the farm: “When it comes to dates, watering and pollination is crucial with the ‘later’ facilitated by human.
At flowering stage we pick pollen from male date palms and deposit it in the flowers of female plants”. So, male date palms do not have to date female ones for reproduction! But there is a hitch in the sentence, which should read: “When it comes to dates, watering and pollination are crucial, with the ‘latter’ (not ‘later’) facilitated by human”. “Dates are especially consumed during the Muslim fasting months but the market potential among other consumers remains huge as well”.
Given that the Holy Month is just round the corner, the farm is firmly preparing itself to offer this important fruit cherished during the fasting period. On page 29, we find another inspirational article titled “Come rain or sunshine our crops thrive and we sell produce off season”.
This refers to a farm run by a couple, EN and JW. Although the area around them is parched, as it last rained in October last year, these farmers are not bothered by the failure of the rains: “Their crops are doing well following their investment in water pans which are storage structures dug in the ground to retain surface run off as well as water collected from the rooftop during the rainy season”.
As a result, they water their crops using a “horse pipe”, and harvest both during the rainy season and the dry season. Crops harvested during the latter period fetch a good price. We have two comments to make: “Come rain or sunshine” is modification of an idiom which normally goes in the form of “come rain or shine”, “come rain, come shine”, or “rain or shine”.
We do not see sunshine used in this idiom which means, no matter whether it rains or the sun shines, something will happen (“I will be there come rain or shine, for example”). The second comment is on this phrase “horse pipe”.
I have never seen or even imagined one. Given that the article refers to watering plants, it is fair to believe that the writer had “hose pipe” (and not “horse pipe”) in mind.
A “hose pipe” is defined as a very long tube for carrying water to a garden or fire. Enjoy your farming.