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    Sisal rope making machine,product of Sifa Machinery.

    A new invention is helping small scale farmers produce more fibres with ease by providing them with an alternative and more effective way of processing sisal crop to fibre as opposed to the older methods of scraping which involved manual mechanical striping operation using a bladed metal bars.

    Alex Odundo, who designs and assembles the decorticator,   believes that  traditional methods of obtaining fibres from sisals  are very labor intensive and time consuming hence inefficient and unsuitable for small scale farmers keen to grow the crop for commercial processing of the fibre.

    RELATED STORY: Kisumu agriprenuer reaches over 10, 000 farmers with fibre extraction machine

    “Scraping is purely manual which takes more time to operate and produce less quantity and quality of fibres hence unproductive for small farmers,” said Odundo.

    “Furthermore there are heavy and large motorized machines that are available and confined to major sisal plantation zones in Kenya such as Kilimambogo sisal estates, Machakos, Taita Taveta and Baringo which cannot be used by small scale farmers.”

    Odundo, who is a Kisumu Polytechnic graduate, started Sifa Machinery where he operates a workshop and has since employed more than seven youths working in the workshop while five others in field. The workshop has succeeded in designing and making small portable sisal decorticating machines that is aimed at realizing sisal development especially in semi-arid areas.

    Machine Varieties

    They include: petrol engine machines which consume six to seven litres of petrol and has a capacity of producing 160kgs of fibre in eight hours. Majority of these machines weighs 110kg with the price ranging from Sh80, 000-110, 000.

    Diesel engines with a capacity of producing 160-200kgs of fibre in 8hrs consumes four to five litres of diesel. Majority weighs 10kgs going for between Sh110, 000-150, 000. There is also a Double Head sisal decorticator with a capacity of producing 200-350kg of fibres in eight hours consuming eight to ten litres of diesel.

    RELATED STORY: Banana fibre turn the tide for an entrepreneur in Kirinyaga County

    At his workshop, Odundo works on the designs and helps his staff in assembling the machines. “Our machines are made as small or wide as is practical to be used by the small sisal holders whom we work with closely to pass the operations skills to,” he said.


    Odundo has so far reached over 10,000 farmers nationally with the sisal decorticator machines. This is made possible by several field tours in sisal growing areas such as South Eastern parts of Kenya, parts of; Homa Bay and Migori Counties to find farmers growing and talk to them.

    He also conducts research on market price of fibres, export opportunities for fibres which form part of the selling points for his machines. “We not only sell machines to farmers, we also assist them with the market opportunities where they can sell the produce. This research work has taken me six years in building the business,” said Odundo.

    RELATED STORY: Researchers: Banana pseudo stems are rich source of quality fibres

    His blog, Sifa Machinery WordPress , is also key in advertising his products for interested buyers who place orders for delivery in a week time by his field employees who further help the farmers on how the machines work. Delivery cost is shared equally share between the farmer and the workshop.

    This has helped him reach over 10, 000 farmers as individual farmers and groups in Kenya with over 100 decorticator machines.

    Odundo is seeking to further develop machines to incorporate use of the solar power system in replacement of the fuel operated mechanisms aimed at increasing the production capacity, safety of the machine, durability and quality of the final product.

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    One of the diesel decorticators made by Alex Odundo. He is assembling and selling sisal and banana fibre dicorticator machines to farmers in most parts of the country.

    A Kisumu Polytechnic graduate is seeking to reignite sisal farming in the country by manufacturing a machine that can easily extract the sisal fibres and has so far reached over 10,000 farmers nationally.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Banana fibre turn the tide for an entrepreneur in Kirinyaga County

    Production and exports of sisal fibre reached 68,000 and 58,000 metric tonnes per annum respectively in 1965 with sisal plantation hitting over 120, 000 hectares while the Industry employed over 20,000 people directly and many more indirectly according to Kenya Sisal Industry.

     However, this has since changed in the recent years. Sisal farming has been neglected by many Kenyan farmers in favour of other crops such as sugarcane, tobacco, tea and coffee among other cash crops.

    Alex Odundo has for the last seven years made and sold over 100 sisal fibre decorticator to over 10, 000 farmers in Kenya. “Over the years many farmers who used to grow sisal have abandoned the crop. The few sisal grown nowadays are just found along land boundaries for demarcation purposes and not commercially grown,” said Odundo.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Researchers: Banana pseudo stems are rich source of quality fibres

    In his workshop-Olex Techno Enterprise based in Kisumu town he buys imported machine parts including the engines, assembles them into a complete operation machine ready for the market.

    In this, Odundo has reached approximately 10 to 15 farmer groups whereby only one machine can serve many. “One machine can serve about ten families in a given area so interested farmers form groups and buy one machine which they can share among themselves,” he said.

    Farmers place orders for a machine of their choice depending on the capacity that they require. It is then delivered to them at half the cost of the whole transport meaning the workshop share half the transport cost although some customers prefer visiting the workshop to collect the machines themselves.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Kitui farmers fight food shortage, dry spells with sisal farming

    ““We do deliver our products within one week after payments however some customers who would like a demonstration on how the machines work before they buy, come to the workshop and leave with their products upon purchase,” said Odundo.

    Their prices range from Sh80, 000 to Sh200, 000 depending on the capacity. He has also managed to them to countries such as Tanzania, Rwanda, Madagascar, Somaliland, and Nigeria among others.

    The decorticators can also be used to extract banana fibers.

    Odundo has seven employees in his workshop, five others in the field while there are others who are occasionally contacted to help demonstrate to farmers how the machines work in case of deliveries.

    The workshop is currently working on gender friendly decorticators as the current ones are heavy to operate, said Odundo.

    To find Odundo or his products, visit or call him on 0724719567


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    In 2014, Brian Bosire  founded UjuziKilimo which in Swahili means “Knowledge farming." He was motivated by the struggles of his farming parents to raise school fees and at the same time deal with poor farm harvest each season; after investing a lot of time and money.

    Related article:  Soil testing improving farmers out put

    “At the age of 19, I imagined of a simple device that my mother could stick into the soil and instantly know what crops could offer her maximum yield, what amount and type fertilizers she needed and best seed varieties in order to reduce the risks involved in traditional farming by trial and error” Brian says. My mother had already paid so much, with her own health, for straining too much and making mistakes every time she tried."

    Related article: SoilCares mobile soil lab gives farmers results in three hours

    Agriculture plays a significant role in Kenya’s economy accounting for 24% of Gross Domestic Product with over 80% of Kenya’s 46 million population depending on agricultural activities to improve their livelihoods and 75% operating much below average yields with 40% to 50% productivity levels. This is according to Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization report of 2017.

    Related article: Regular soil testing informs farmers of required minerals

    KALRO report assert that, approximately 45% of Government revenue is derived from Agriculture and the sector contributes over 75% of industrial raw materials and more than 50 % of export earnings. A study done by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) shows that over 70% of all food is produced by rural small holders farmers embracing knowledge based farming and drifting from traditional farm practices in order to meet the demands of the burgeoning population. 



    UjuziKilimo founder Brian Bosire testing the soil PH and nutrient levels using an aid analytics kit/PHOTO/NETFUND

    His innovation involves using sensors and aid analytics to provide precision farming technologies to small scale farmers to enable them embrace technology driven farming as a move to increase their yields and reduce risks of the farm.

    The device uses light, temperature and ion selective sensors to detect and measure soil macronutrients. Sensors produce electrical signals that are conditioned to show exact amount of specific ions and (or) nutrients present in the soil sample by measuring soil PH, salinity, Nitrogen, phosphorus, Potassium and moisture.

    The UjuziKilimo founder saw several gaps in the Kenyan Agricultural market including : lack of knowledge in Agricultural practices, need for new technology, lack of access to market information in terms of prices, buyers and markets, lack of accurate weather information, farmers financial exclusion and supply chain inefficiencies.

    This has opened his perspective to  the over 400 Million African small holder farmers who rely on their guts to make critical farming decisions, most of these farmers have been locked in the poverty cycle due to lack of education, ignorance and even basic skills to enable them make their only economic activity productive. 


    UjuziKilimo has created employment opportunities for six young people directly as employees and hundreds others as beneficiaries through providing Agri-Tec services to farmers in rural areas. There are more young people going into agriculture because of the opportunity presented by Agribusiness. Ujuzi Kilimo is happy to serve these young farmers who often have little experience and knowledge in the sector by providing the most needed information on input use, crop selection and best practices to enable them become successful.

    UjuziKilimo has received Sh 1.3m as support from The National Environment Trust Fund (NETFUND), a state corporation under the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities. The support is in terms of refining the business through informative and hands on business coaching. NETFUND has also provided financial support geared towards furthering the production capacity of the technology and up scaling their services to reach 3000 farmers by the end of 2017. According to NETFUND’S monitoring and evaluation report of 2016, the company is set to reach 200,000 farmers in Kenya in the next 3 years. UjuziKilimo has been nominated for the Digital Inclusion Awards 2017 as the best Digital Agricultural solution provider courtesy of NETFUND.








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