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    Farmers can shell over 30 times more groundnuts per person per day using a manual decordicator machine from the Agricultural Technology Development Centre (ATDC), Mtwapa, Kilifi County.

    The machine can shell 60 kilogrammes of groundnuts per hour.  It is approximated that one person can shell between one and three quarters to two kilos per hour by free hand.

    Kea Bakari, an ATDC official based at the Coast institution, said the machine saves farmers more man-hours spent in removing the shells from groundnuts by free hand.

    “It is a cost effective and cheap to maintain machine because no fuel is required to run it. It eases the work for farmers, therefore, helping them avoid losses resulting from the seeds rotting in bad weather,” he said.

    Despite the speed, the machine does not cause breakage of the seeds. Its teeth are spaced in such a way that they only remove the outer ‘coat’ allowing for the seeds to move to the collecting chamber below.

    READ ALSOValue addition earns double cash for groundnuts trader

    Whole seeds are of high quality, therefore, fetch more income for the farmers. At the same time, crashed seeds are prone to humidity, which reduces their shelf life besides exposing them to attacks such as aflatoxins. 

    Aflatoxins are poisonous fungi that attack foods, especially seeds and cereals.

    READ ALSOThis is how to grow and earn millions with groundnuts

    The machine costs Sh9,000.

    PHOTO: Indian women learning how a groundnuts decordicator works. Kenya's ATDC is selling a manual decordicator machine that can shell 60kg of groundnuts per hour. PHOTO BY www.premagnetos.com

    For more inquiries, centre can be reached on +254722764503 or any nearest Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation.

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    Farmers may soon spend about a sixth of the current tillage costs per acre after the Jomo Kenyatta of Agriculture and Technology commercialises its cheap fuel multipurpose Shujaa Tractor for small-holder farmers.

    On average, it costs about Sh3,000 to hire a tractor for one acre. The big tractors need more than 10 litres to till the same piece.

     Paul Apondi, a mechanical engineer at the university said the tractor consumes six litres of diesel to plough one acre.

    Based on the current diesel cost of Sh85, six litres oil is about Sh510. The engineer said such an amount is affordable and farmers can use the excess to invest more.

    “The aim of this innovation is to help small-holder farmers, who rely on oxen and jembe in preparing land. The mini tractor will be cheap to acquire and easy to maintain. Its running costs are lower than the big tractors,” the engineer said.

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    The machine is being tested on efficiency to work in the various soils around Kenya before the price is fixed ahead of commercialisation.

    READ ALSOSAME tractors enter Massey Ferguson’s turf

    In addition to tillage, Shujaa can be used in application of agrochemicals, planting, making ridges, weeding, transportation, among other chores in respect to the attached implement.

    READ ALSOMakerere University unveils tractor made of wood

    Farmers are increasingly moving to the emerging two-wheeled hand-held tractors. But the tractors need more labour to push and some of them pose health risks due to the high vibrations from the handles.

    READ ALSOMultipurpose tractor helps farmers harvest potatoes without cuts

    The four-wheeled tractor, whose Swahili derived name means hero, is easy to operate and can run better even on elevated topographies without manual support. 

    Shujaa has been improved from an Indian three-wheeled prototype, which was less effective in working in the African heavy soils like the black cotton, Apondi said.

    READ ALSOCheap walking multipurpose tractor for small-scale farmers

    JKUAT is working in association with the Society for Research Initiative in Sustainable Technologies and Institutions, India to adjust the tractor to meet the local needs.

    PHOTO: Excited farmers surround the JKUAT Shujaa tractor to learn more about it at Kabiru-ini Agricultural Society of Kenya Show Ground, Nyeri, on September 17, 2016. The tractor consumes six litres of diesel to till one acre. It is expected to cut  tillage costs by more than five times. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.

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    Farmers bordering high speed streams or rivers can push up to 5000 litres of water a day without incurring any power costs using a Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) Hydraulic Ram Pump.

    JKUAT renewable energy expert Richard Njihia said the machine, which is also called hydram pump, has been designed to reduce production costs for farmers who can access continuously running water.

    “Hydram is a time tested technology that uses the energy of a large amount of water falling from a small height to lifts a part of the liquid to great heights. In this way, water from a spring or stream can be pumped to the village for domestic use, irrigation or any other farm activity on the uphill,” he said.

    HydrampumpJKUATworkerNyeriLaban.jpg

    The power of the pump relies on the height of the falling water. For instance if the fall is one metre in depth, the pump can push water from the base to a height of eight metres.

    READ ALSO: Motorcycle that pumps water enters Kenyan market

    Njihia, who is also a lecturer at the university, said the pump can push out one out of every 10 litres of water received.

    It has alternating valves that allow for continuous inflow and outflow of water.

    READ ALSO:Motorized pump reduces spraying time four fold 

    Since it does not require oil or electricity, the pump is easy to run for farmers as it only requires minimum maintenance after installation.

    With reservoirs in the irrigation field or homes, the pump can push water for 24 hours for later use.

    The hydrams rage in size, with the smallest pushing 5000 litres per day while others manage  up to 20,000 litres over the same period.

    READ ALSOAffordable solar-powered water pumps could be the key to farming success in Kenya

    The costs range from Sh60,000 to Sh120,000.

    Njihia said the pump is a perfect alternative to diesel or electricity, of which if a farmer cannot affor them at a given time, farm activities would stagnate.

    READ ALSO: 

    The pump is designed and manufactured by JKUAT under the JICA-JKUAT Bright Project.

    JKUAT can be reached on 067-52181 or  067-52711 and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    PHOTO: A JKUAT official attends to the hydram pump at the Kabiruini Agricultural Society of Kenya Show Ground on September 17, 2016. The pump does not require oil or electricity to push water. PHOT BY LABAN ROBERT.

     

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