What you need to know:
- From threshing amaranth seeds to trapping fall armyworms and spraying your crops, here are the simple technologies you can use.
- Threshing and winnowing of millet is usually a tedious task for the smallholder farmer, but there is now an easy option to do the job.
- At the University of Eldoret’s stand, there was a glass solar dryer designed to help farmers curb post-harvest losses in the event of bumper harvest.
- Most farmers who grow amaranth (mchicha/dodo) find it hard to thresh the seeds before they mill them.
Last week’s Agricultural Society of Kenya Eldoret show was a fountain of technologies that can help the farmer have an easy time on the farm.
The four-day event wowed tens of exhibitors, students, farmers and agro-dealers who attended it. Some of the things that were of interest to farmers were new varieties of seeds, fertilisers, artificial insemination services, pedigree cows, agrochemicals and technologies.
Seeds of Gold team attended the event and brings to you some of the innovations that were on display to help boost your production.
Electric spinning machine
Grace Wainaina says an electric spinning machine enables one to make threads that are then woven to make a fabric using a different machine.
Peanut butter maker
It comes in three parts: Decorticator, peanut flour miller and peanut grinder. All the three enable farmers add value to their produce.
First, the peanuts are dried in the sun, then roasted under temperatures as high as 350C for one-and-a-half hours. They are then placed in the shade until the nuts start to swell and crack for easy removal of the cover.
The nuts are, thereafter, placed in the decorticator to remove the coat and then ground to make flour, before being placed in the grinder to make butter.
The entire process takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Threshing and winnowing of millet is usually a tedious task for the smallholder farmer, but there is now an easy option to do the job.
Once the crop has been harvested and dried in the sun for several days, it is fed into the machine, which is composed of rollers that thresh the produce.
The electric machine also has a fan and mortar. The fan blows wind to the threshed grains to separate them from the chaff.
Stephen Omoga, a technologist at Moi University, says the machine can be powered either manually using a peddle or by electricity.
At the University of Eldoret’s stand, there was a glass solar dryer designed to help farmers curb post-harvest losses in the event of bumper harvest.
At the bottom of the gadget there is an inlet that allows air into the chamber, which passes through a black surface and black granites.
The granites act as the capacitor, that is increase the intensity of the heat, to temperatures of up to 35oc and as the heated air enters the cabin with farmers’ produce such as vegetables, it dries them, helping increase the shelf-life.
The glass, on the other hand, helps to create the greenhouse effect in the cabin.
Manual farm sprayer
The manual sprayer is made up of two wheels, a mortar, a water tank and three hose pipes. Instead of carrying a knapsack on your back and spraying the crops in the field, one can use this machine.
When the mortar that uses petrol is powered, it sucks the pesticides from the tank, which then flow to the hose pipes, in the process spraying the crops.
The hose pipes are adjustable in such a way that you can spray your crop at any angle you want, according to Stephen Omoga, a technologist at Moi University. One can also increase the volume of the spray.
Fall armyworm pheromone trap
For the past two years, most maize farmers have been using unconventional methods that include spraying detergents on their crops to fight fall armyworm.
Others have been relying on pesticides to eradicate the pest. Researchers at Kalro have, however, worked on a synthetic mating hormone that mimics the female armyworm, which then attracts the male species to the trap.
The pest that is usually active in the evening, therefore, gets trapped, minimising breeding since the female lays sterile or unfertilised eggs that will not hatch.
Aggrey Mugita, a researcher at Kalro Kitale, says a farmer requires four traps for every acre to effectively lower the population of the destructive worms.
Mugita says the traps should be placed in a maize plantation when the crops have just germinated. The expert adds that it is important for farmers to do regular scouting and monitoring to enable them eradicate the pest when it is still susceptible.
One replaces the pheromone inside the triangular traps after every three weeks. He says the biological method is environment friendly.
Most farmers who grow amaranth (mchicha/dodo) find it hard to thresh the seeds before they mill them.
But this should no longer be the case as the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) has come up with a petrol-powered machine that threshes dry amaranth seeds, making it easier to make flour.
Amaranth is popular due its high nutrients. It is rich in protein, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, dietary fibre and contains good quality oil that lowers cholesterol.
The vegetable’s nutrients are also good for those with low immunity.
Flour from amaranth is used to blend others that include maize, wheat, rice and millet to make porridge for both adults and children.
Nasirembe Wanjala, a technologist from Kalro-Katumani, says the machine can also thresh chia, finger millet and crotalaria (mitoo) seeds.
One requires a litre of petrol to mill 16 90kg bags of the amaranth seeds. It is quite efficient.
The machine enables farmers to get fibre from sisal or silk, cotton and wool.
Ezekiel Nzue, who has been contracted by the Agriculture and Food Authority to train farmers on the technology, says the sisal twiner enables a farmer to extract fibre from sisal.
It also has a spooling part that allows one to get reams of various sizes in 10-15 minutes, processing at least 25 reams in a day.
Double stroke water pump
Most farmers require water during the dry seasons to irrigate their crops. With this innovation, they can draw water from a well that is up to 30 feet deep.
The pump is manually operated by turning it using one hand. It has two valves that suck the water from the well, creating a vacuum and in the process water is pumped into a water tank, enabling the farmer to irrigate their crops with ease.