Farmers can separate up to 540kg of gains from chaff per hour at a cost of less than Sh100 using a motorised winnowing machine from Egerton University.
The machine consumes one litre of diesel to winnow five to six 90kg bags of grains per hour.
This is a relief to farmers, who rely on wind currents to blow away chaff from sorghum, millet, maize, beans, wheat, among others.
Besides being time consuming and tedious, hand winnowing requires more than 10 people to clean six 90kg bags of millet for instance a day.
Besides removing the chaff from all sizes of grains, the Motorised Grain Winnower also helps farmers in grading the harvest.
Wilson Kamau, an officer at the university’s engineering department, said the machine was designed to help farmers speed up preparation of grains for storage or markets.
“At least one litre of diesel is affordable for most farmers instead of waiting for strong wind to clean grains for storage. Even on bad weather, a farmer can winnow and pack the gains from the comfort of their stores,” he said.
One litre of diesel costs Sh94.
Once the grains with the chaff have been fed via the upper tray, the machine draws in air currents to blow over the contents.
The exits of the grains are two- one for mature and well dried produce while the other one is for the malformed and low quality grains.
Its gears allow for adjustments to suite the size of the seeds in question. All the grains go out through the base-placed outlets while whole. There is no crashing.
The machine has a single wheel, therefore, it can be pushed around. The machine can be hired by other farmers too to earn the owner some extra coins.
It is simple and does not require technical skills to operate.
The university sells the machine at Sh40,000.
PHOTO: Egerton University’s Wilson Kamau shows farmers sorghum after it was cleaned by the Motorised Grain Winnower at Jamhuri Show Ground during the Nairobi International Agricultural Society of Kenya Show on October 7, 2016. The machine can run on ole litre of diesel to remove chaff from 540kg of grains in one hour. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.
Kamau can be reached on +254734864988