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    For the first time Team Canada members are ready to contest the 64th World Ploughing Championship scheduled to be held at Ngongongeri Farm in Egerton University from November 27th to December 2nd . 22 year old Jay Lennox, the reigning Canadian conventional ploughing champion and 41 year old Tom Evans, the reversible ploughing champion are aiming to win the world title.

    Jay Lennox became the Ontario Junior Ploughing Champion in 2014, went on to take the national title and last year captured his county’s conventional ploughing title. In 2015 Tom Evans won the Ontario reversible champion title and last year became the Canadian Champion. Both Lennox and Evans are competing in the World Championship for the first time. Their coach is Daryl Hostrawser who has been ploughing in competition events since 1966. He has been a competitor in the World Championship three times and has coached Team Canada for the past six years.

    The Canadians will arrive in Nairobi in November 18th and transfer to Egerton on the following day. They will spend time at the FMD workshop in Nakuru hooking up their ploughs and hydraulic controls to the two Massey Ferguson MF 4708 tractors which have been provided for the competition by FMD.

    Several days have been set aside for Jay Lennox and Tom Evans to adapt to the climatic and soil conditions in Egerton. They will try out the Massey Ferguson tractors and their equipment for several days before participating in the official practice session from November 27th to 30th.

    Over 20 countries have already confirmed participation in the event and more are expected before the entry deadline. The 2017 World Ploughing Championship is being held in Kenya for the second time after an interval of 22 years. In 1995 the Kenya round attracted entries from 40 countries.

    The Kenya Ploughing Organisation (KPO) was established in 1996 under the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) umbrella to organize national ploughing contests and help raise the standards of seed bed preparation. The KPO holds countrywide competitions to select participants in the National Championship to earn places for the global contest.

    In 1996 Kenya was represented in the championships by Mark Iraru and Peter Oduor Obuora then Mark Kirui Rongei and Joshua Kiptim Kigen in 2015. This year Kenya will be represented again by Joshua Kiptim Kigen under Conventional Competitors and Simon Otindi Oroni under Reversible Competitors.

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    Rural farmers can increase the value of their crops ten-fold by using a new technology – Village industrial mobile power plant. The technology which was introduced in Kenya in 2016 uses agricultural waste as fuel; it has 10 Kw engine which creates thermal, electrical and mechanical energy to transform crops into high value products. VIP’s pilot power plants are currently on trial in East Africa.

    The plant enables farmers shell 1 ton of maize in 2 hours for Ksh. 150 per bag. It thus reduces the chances of aflatoxin infection and improves the quality of maize. It also reduces unpredictable cost of manual labor used to dry maize in the sun.

    “VIP’s mobile power plant unit is robust, reliable, and on demand, enabling farmers to process their own crops and participate directly in the value chain, VIP’s carbon neutral engine is fuel flexible, using waste such as maize cobs, coffee parchment, mango pits, and bagasse to supply thermal, electric, and mechanical power” says Maggie Flanagan, the company’s Vice President for Business Development.

    READ ALSO: Village cooperatives redefine value addition 

    According to Maggie, the VIP engine is fuel flexible, clean burning, and able to run on numerous biomass feed stocks. The super-heated steam in turn produces heat that can be used to produce either hot air or hot water on demand for a wide range of agricultural applications. The VIP unit offers the lowest cost of electricity in its class. It’s designed to be robust and easily operated. Using only two wrenches, the engine can be disassembled and reassembled in an hour. It can be an economic engine of growth for rural development.

    READ ALSO:Value addition efforts inspire farming for export


    The Village Industrial Power Plant at the 2017 Nairobi International Trade Fair, Jamhuri grounds. PHOTO/JAPHET RUTO

    In Kenya, VIP has set up a maize processing unit in western Kenya used to shell and dry maize. Properly dried maize allows farmers to get a better market price and store enough maize for personal consumption during the dry seasons.

    READ ALSO:Former casual labourer creates cassava value addition empire

    The machine is also used in mango drying, small dairy processing, small scale sugar processing, fish drying, irrigation, pumping and purifying water.

    Maggie Flanagan notes that farmers are free to have the plant tested on their farms for free to add value to their crops. “We have helped Kambiti East farmer’s group dry their mangoes for more profits” says Maggie.

    “Since we started this project of drying mangoes, we have faced so many challenges, because when there is no enough heat from the sun, our mangoes get spoiled. Now with the VIP dryer, we can slice mangoes from 8:30 am to 2: 00 pm daily without worry, and the results are good unlike before” said Fridah Mbai, Vice Chairperson and Supervisor of Kambiti East Mango Growers Group.

    Another farmer Raymond Kiprop, who is the owner of Raymond Agricultural Services, says he likes the technology because it is cost effective and cheaper to run it as you only need residues of the crop to generate power. “Another reason that I like this machine is the drying part where you now use the steam that is generated to dry your maize up to the required moisture level” adds Kiprop.

    Maggie Flanagan can be reached on +254 790 919 164 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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    Eliud Njoroge, a crops researcher at KALRO with the new Hermetic Metal Silo at the 2017 Nairobi International Trade fair. PHOTO/JAPHET RUTO

    Farmers can save up to 25% of their cereals from losses by using hermetic metal silos to store their grains. The silo with a capacity of five 50 kg bags is an innovation of the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and is suitable for small scale farmers.

    Due to unreliable storage options that consist of using discarded sacks and basins, many farmers are forced to sell their crops at harvest time when prices are at their lowest, and pay higher prices later in the year to purchase maize grain back for food. Farmers also often have to purchase chemicals to control pests and rodents attacking their stored cereals.

    READ ALSO: Solar powered mini silos tames grain loss

    Grains constitute the basis for food security for the majority of the population in Kenya and Africa at large and are a central component in the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.  Significant volumes are however lost through post- harvest operations due to attack by pests making farming an expensive venture. It is reported that the region loses 25 to 30% of cereals during market storage according to the Eastern African Grain Council.

    Whereas quantitative post-harvest losses result into a direct loss of saleable weight, qualitative losses lead to a loss in market opportunity and grain nutritional value and may pose a serious health hazard of aflatoxicosis if linked to consumption of Aflatoxin-contaminated grain.

    READ ALSO: Unique silos insulate farmers from weevil attacks

    According to Eliud Njoroge, a crops researcher at KALRO, no chemicals are required for preservation purposes if farmers adopt this method of storage. Farmers can store grains for a longer period of time meaning more income in and out of season.

    READ ALSO: Farmers access loans with stored grains

    Procedure for storing grains in hermetic metal silos

    • Dry and clean grain before loading into silo
    • Put silo under a roof and on wooden platform to avoid corrosion and exposure to the sun or rain
    • Load grains into the silo from the inlet at the top
    • Place a candle on top of the grain and light it. The candle will consume oxygen in the silo and hence make the silo unsuitable for pests.
    • While the candle is burning, place the lid and seal the silo using rubber band on both inlet and outlet. The candle will go off after exhausting the oxygen in 2 – 5 minutes.
    • Don’t open silo for 20 to 30 days after sealing so that weevils and eggs can die for lack of oxygen.
    • When the silo is opened, always seal the outlet after scooping the desired amount of grain.

    The silos can be obtained at KALRO at Ksh 12,000 via Eliud Njoroge who can be reached on +254 706 983 021.


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