KALRO's Damaris Kagendo with the manua wheat thresher at Kitale show ground on October 29, 206. The machine can thresh 110kg of wheat per hour. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.
Small-scale farmers can thresh up to 110 kilogrammes of wheat per hour as no cost using the new manual machine from the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation, KALRO.
While large scale farmers use combined harvesters to reap, thresh, winnow and pack wheat into sacks at the shamba, smallholders use rods to strike the grains before drying and storing.
The small-holders also require more labour than the large-scale holders since they have to ‘beat’ the wheat heads with the rods, winnow, dry and package the produce for marketing or storage.
Damaris Kagendo, a field officer at Kitale’s KARLO station said the machine was innovated to ease the work of farmers besides reducing the labour required.
The threshing machine is attached to a bicycle-like structure which has pedals. The farmer pedals while pushing the heads of the wheat to the threshing chamber.
“The chamber has tooth-like nuts that rotate as the farmer presses the pedals with their feet. Wheat grains fall on a slanting net tray to the front part of the machine while straws and chaff exit to the rear end, where the farmer is,” she said.
Given that the nut-like teeth are blunt, the grains get out while whole, therefore, no loss to grain dents.
The wheat heads together with the straws must, however, be dry enough, to minimum moisture content of below 16 per cent, Kagendo said.
The machine works while on a mat or any other spread material.
The only maintenance required is the oiling of the moving parts to reduce rusting and friction.
The wheat thresher I available at KALRO centres at Sh40,000.