By George Munene
A private company, Manufacturing on Wheels Limited, has teamed up with the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology to roll out motorbike powered and mobile agro-processing machines. The first system scheduled for commercial rollout taps motorbike power to drive a manual coffee pulper that can process up to 400kgs of cherry per hour compared to just 50 kilograms farmers archive through manual pulping.
A drive system developed by the university’s engineering team connects to a motorbike engine using a coupler which transmits power to the pulping machine at a pocket friendly cost with one liter of petrol working 800 kilograms of coffee beans.
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The shaft is connected to the boda-boda engine with minimal disruption meaning motorbike riders will be able to easily repurpose their bikes into processing machines. Manufacturing on Wheels Limited is looking to recruit boda-boda operators, especially in rural regions cut off from the national grid, to acquire the drive system and offer the threshing and pulping service at a fixed per kilogram fee to coffee farmers in their regions. The service will also include post-processing training and management, grading, pricing and sales coordination.
Beyond enhancing production capacity, the new invention also promises to improve the quality of coffee produced.” With this machine the rate of revolutions per minute is constant, which is not achievable in manual pulping, this reduces bean breakage to a negligible one percent. Due to its quick working time the machine also retains the foam or mucus formed while pulping which enhances the coffee’s fermentation and improve its taste,” explains Dr Fredrick Mwema an engineering lecturer at the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology.
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The Nyeri county government is working to avail the automated coffee pulping machine to farmers. “We are training boda-boda riders to provide coffee pulping services as a business helping them earn an income and streamline our agricultural value chains,” says Benjamin Gachichio the county’s Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries CS.
Dedan Kimathi University of Technology Institute of Food Bioresources Technology (IFBT): +254729 373 564