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     backpack weeding machine.PNG

    Backpack portable weeding machine.

    Karuworks Machinery Company, a Kisii County company which imports and assembles farm equipment and machineries is selling a complete set of portable and simple to operate weeding machine that can also be used for cutting grass, cultivation and planting by smallholder farmers.

    The machine can be used by four separate working heads including; tiller, slasher, weeder and planter, which are used interchangeably with the single operating system or the main machine.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Tractor weeds a maize and potato acre for Sh200

    The parts of the machine are imported from Germany, assembled in Kenya and sold to farmers as a complete set.

    “These parts work differently and perform different tasks at different times. For example the tiller has long blades that goes deep into the soil and this makes it unfit for weeding because it can destroy the roots of plants. Weeding is done with short edged tools such as the weeder,” said Hykarus Ondimu Mogusu, the company’s technician and head of marketing department.

    The main machine has a small petrol engine weighing five kilograms carried at the back when in use, it also a conduit, a switch,a handle bar an aluminum alloy and a working head.

    RELATED ARTICLE: JKUAT Shujaa Tractor to cut farmer's tillage costs by five times

    “This machine is very safe if the farmers follow operation instructions well. We offer warranties and trainings on how to use the machine for free to our customers and repair at a discounted price,” said Mogusu.

    The petrol engine which can use two and a half litres of fuel per acre is carried at the back during use by the operator. Between the back of the operator and the engine is a thick mattress of two inches that is capable of absorbing the vibration of the generator that may affect the operator.

    The aluminum alloy has a guard between the handle and the working head which shields the operator from the rolling soil particles that may cause any physical injuries.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Tractor solves costs puzzle to smallholders

    “We sell all the parts and the main machine as one complete set to farmers at Sh170, 000 although this price is negotiable depending on transport deliveryand the number of items a customer can buy from our company,” said Mogusu.

    “The company has spare parts for machines and equipment just in any case of damaged part and the need for replacement.”

    For more information contact Mongusu on +254 720 698262.

     

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    microchip tag.jpg

    A microchip tag device is being fitted on a cattle's ear. The device helps in tracking the animal's movement hence helps in curbing livestock thefts and boost sales. Photo: Mwangi Ndirangu | NMG.

    The county government of Laikipia in collaboration with Kenya Veterinary Association (KVA) on Monday unveiled an electronic and traceability project that will help farmers and the government track illegal movement of livestock and help in authorized sales of the animals.

    The pilot project which will take Sh10m in three months and will see 50,000 head of cattle fitted with microchip tags that can transmit information about the animal's movement, its history and the owner. This detail is then reflected in a computer and mobile phone compatible application.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Uasin Gishu farmers decry loss of livestock to mysterious animal

    The device will be permanently fixed in the animal’s ear and cannot be interfered with or raptured unless one cuts off the animal’s ear

    “Laikipia County is chosen to try this project out because it is leading in beef production and the county leaders and other stakeholders in the beef industry have also stood up for support,” said KVA chairman, Dr. Samuel Kahariri, during the launch of the project at Jua Kali Market in Laikipia North Sub-County.

    According to Kahariri, the traceability will also help in marketing of the county’s livestock products especially in international markets by enabling consumers to track information about a product.

    RELATED ARTICLE:Livestock farmers to save Sh160 with cheap foot and mouth vaccine

    “Kenya has enough beef but the quality does not meet the international standards. We would like to boost the sector by controlling the spread of diseases which we believe is caused by cattle rustling and illegal movement of livestock,” said Kahariri.

    When the project is implemented it will minimise theft, assist in disease control and ease movement of animals.

    January 2017 Kenya Police report indicates that more than 24 people were killed in cattle rustling violence in the previous year, while nearly 25,000 livestock were stolen in 56 raids. This might have increased.

    This project which is a public private partnership with support from the national government through the State Department of Livestock, will finally be conducted in other counties where livestock farming is the main economic activity.

    RELATED ARTICLE:Fly-trap tames livestock parasites

    In the next few weeks a team of doctors will be moving across Laikipia County in different community ranches and farms fitting the microchip tags on livestock. This will be completed in April this year.

    This project is in agreement with the devolve unit plan which is to get pastoralists to shift from traditional ways of rearing livestock to methods that will curb spread of disease and improve quality and quantity of livestock.

     

     

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     sisal rope making machine.jpg

    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.

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    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.

    Marketing

    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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