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    The solar milk pasteurizer is directly heated by the sun and the hot water produced used for pasteurizing milk. PHOTO/KALRO

    A new milk preserving technology using a solar milk pasteurizer for smallholder farmers seeking to minimize milk losses along the marketing chain especially in the arid and semi-arid lands has been developed by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization.  The new technology will help milk farmers and business vendors prolong the shelf life of milk and hence improve market- ability and generate more income.

    Milk marketing is an important income earning opportunity for people in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) of Kenya. For a long time, farmers have been using limited firewood to boil the milk hence placing intense pressure on the forests and destroying the environment.

    READ ALSO:  Simple Solar technology for irrigation saves water & fertilizer costs

    The solar milk pasteurizer consists of a flat-plate water heating solar collector and a stainless steel cylindrical milk container. Water in the solar collector is directly heated by the sun and the hot water produced used for pasteurizing milk.  

    According to Marsabit KALRO officer F.Wayua, the abundant solar energy in ASALs can be used to pasteurize milk. A simple solar milk pasteurizer can be made locally with the aid of jua kali artisans. The materials required for fabrication include a flat plate solar collector, a stainless steel cylindrical tank, connecting pipes& valves and insulating materials (fiber glass, cotton, wool and saw dust). The materials can be obtained from native hardware shops close to the farmers’ residence.

    READ ALSO: Solar and wind hybrid drier saves food

    After assembling and the device is ready for use, it is advisable to tilt the solar collector at 10-15° from the horizontal, facing the equator. Ensure you have good quality milk to be pasteurized and a piece of clean sterile (boiled) cotton cloth.

    READ ALSO: Solar powered mini silos tames grain loss

    Procedure for Milk Pasteurization

    • Pasteurization should be done between 10 am and 4 pm when there is adequate solar radiation
    • Fill the system with water in the morning
    • Sieve milk using the cotton cloth
    • Pour the sieved milk in the milk container
    • Water in the solar collector is directly heated by the sun
    • The hot water produced is used for pasteurizing milk in the milk container
    • Circulation of hot water from the collector to the jacketed milk container continues as long as the sun is shining
    • Let the milk heat to 63°C and hold for 30 minutes or 85°C (when it starts to foam) and hold for 5 seconds.

    The device is recommended for producers and milk traders in arid pastoral areas as they have limited access to grid electricity but have plenty of solar radiation. Milk Pasteurization makes milk safe for human consumption.

     For more information contact: Centre Director, KARI Marsabit P.O. Box 147 – 60500 Tel. 069 – 2040 Wireless: 020 801 7018 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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            soilcares-soil testing.jpg

     SoilCares  expert explaining to farmers how soil testing scanner works. The soil testing equipment including scanners use infrared and Xray technology and provides results within 10 minutes.

    Stationary soil testing laboratories, mobile laboratories and scanners by SoilCares Limited has enabled over 7, 000 farmers in not less than 13 locations in Kenya improve their crop and dairy farming productions since 2013 when the company started its operations in the country.

    Working with the national and county governments, farmer groups, individual farmers and organisations, SoilCares apart from testing soil for farmers has managed to conduct 72 trainings for the farmers on how and why soil testing is key in farming.

    “Currently we have over 25 successful stories of farmers sampled from across 13 locations in the country who practice horticulture farming, commercial and food crops production and dairy farming,” said Jacob Gathuru, SoilCares sales representative, Central Kenya during Central Kenya ASK show in Nyeri.

    According to Gathuru, farmers currently have no need to collect and send soil samples to their laboratories then wait for days or even weeks for results, SoilCares scanners for example which are used in the fields provides farmers with real-time soil testing results, lime and fertilizer recommendations at a fee.

    READ ALSO: SoilCares mobile soil lab gives farmers results in three hours

    READ ALSO: soil steaming cuts tomato losses

    READ ALSO: Regular soil testing informs farmers of required minerals

    “All our soil testing equipment including scanners use infrared and Xray technology and within ten minutes our scanners are able to give the farmer soil fertility reports,” said Gathuru.

    Fred Onyango is a maize farmer for ten years on his three acres plot in Homa Bay County and a beneficiary of SoilCares products. After sometime he realised his maize yields started reducing and however much he applied synthetic fertilisers, there was no change till he met SoilCares.

    “Since I tested my soil with SoilCares I have seen faster, healthier and up yields from three to eight bags of maize every season,” Said Onyango.

    Sylvia Gakiiru has been a dairy farmer for 16 years in Meru County. Her fodder and food crops had started turning yellow whenever he planted them. After soil testing with SoilCares and applying the recommended inputs Gakiiru says her crops are thriving enabling her feed well her family and dairy cows.

    Nakuru County farmer Stephen Karanja who has grown potato for ten years but just harvesting between 15 and 20 bags of potatoes each season. Soil samples from his piece of land taken to SoilCares and tested indicated his soil lacked nitrogen and potassium. NPK 17:0:21 was recommended which he applied and the result is that Karanja is now harvesting 50 bags of potatoes from the same piece of land.

    I am extremely delighted by to have potato production increased courtesy of SoilCares’ soil testing services which I can now seek whenever I notice something wrong with my crops affecting production,” said Karanja.


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    Kelvin Kigen of Favour Machinery and Auto Spares explaining how maize huller machine works during this year's Nyeri ASK show.

    Muthokoi (maize without husks) lovers can enjoy making their favourite dish within the shortest time possible with Maize huller machine which removes the bran (outer maize grain layer) within five minutes.

    This is opposed to traditional way of making the food which took more than one person in order to make the work easier and faster and it could also take more than an hour to remove the maize husks.

    Maize huller polishes maize by removing the bran through friction as it passes through the chamber between the emery roller and standard size sieve. The operator will thereafter collect maize husks and muthokoi from two different outlets, explains Kelvin Kigen, the huller operator and sales representative of Favour Machinery and Auto Spares, Rift Valley region.

    Maize hullers require low maintenance and lower operational costs and does not need any skilled labour force to operate the machinery. Superior quality emery roller polishes maize and removes the bran with ease and it lasts for years.

    “These machines are specially designed to give high output with low power consumption,” said Kigen adding that all models are suitable to run by Diesel engine or electric motor.

    Originally muthokoi which is a favourite dish among the Kamba community. According to Elimu Asilia Organisation on indigenous knowledge, making muthokoi entailed removing the outer skin of the maize grains by using a pestle ‘muthi’ and a wooden mortar ‘ndii’.

    The maize were then put in a mortar for pounding, something which could take two people one hour to complete.
    This means, with maize huller, only one person will be needed to do the work and it will take him not more than five minutes to complete saving 55minutes with limited manpower. Maize huller can polish up to three tons of maize in one hour.

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