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    By George Munene

    The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization Agricultural Mechanization Research Institute (KALRO-AMRI) has manufactured a small grains multi-crop thresher that will help farmers reduce their threshing cost by over 90 per cent while increasing thousandfold the amount of grain produced per hour.

    The multi-crop thresher will increase farmer profit margin, and labour productivity while decreasing the cost of production. It will also enhance the quality of produce as the grain from manual threshing is often contaminated with debris ranging from stones to chicken droppings.

    This will all enable farmers to realise full value from their harvest, encouraging them to plant grain crops.

    Threshing or shelling refers to the separation of grain--the edible part of the crop, from the portion of the plant that holds them. For most farmers, it is one of the most deterring activities in the production value chain of grains as it is labour intensive and drudgerous.

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    “The thresher reduces manual labour costs from Sh80 per kilogram to just Sh5. The time taken per kilogram when processing grain manually is 1.875kg/hr. 70kg/hr can be produced when operations are mechanised,” explained Nasirembe Wanjala, an agricultural engineer in charge of agricultural mechanisation at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), Katimani.

    The machine will be able to thresh beans, rice, wheat, green grams, sorghum, finger millet, pigeon peas, amaranth, and Teff.

    The crop is dried to 13-16 percent moisture content before being threshed.

    There are three stages of cleaning grain; primary sieving, secondary sieving, and winnowing.

    The machine performs threshing, sieving, and winnowing in one operation.

    Women manually threshing harvested bean pods

                                    Women manually threshing harvested bean pods

    How to Operate

    After preparing the crop, it is fed through a hopper uniformly.

    High engine speeds crack grains while low speeds have poor winnowing ability

    The thresher operator should always use protective gear and set the machine across wind direction.

    The output of the thresher will vary according to the type of crop, crop conditions such as yield, maturity, moisture content, and machine factors such as feeding rate, sieve matching, engine speed, and winnower setting.

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    Under optimum conditions the outputs are;

    Crop type             Speed, rpm     Output kg/hr

    Finger millet              2600                      70

    Sorghum                   2800                     120

    Green grams            2800                     180

    Pigeon pea               2800                     180

    Teff                           2700                      200

    Beans                       2200                      80

     

    “This initiative we hope will strengthen entrepreneurship among our farmers. It will also enhance our manufacturing and agro-processing industries, and help spur industrialization through our cottage industry,” Nasirembe concluded.

     

    KALRO AMRI: P.O. BOX 340-90100, Machakos
                            Tel: 020 20 76915
                            Mobile: 0727031783

                            This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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    Tractors For Africa T4A

    By George Munene

    Global nonprofit Heifer International has partnered with Hello Tractor to introduce a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) rent-to-own tractor financing program.

    Dubbed Tractors 4 Africa (T4A), it will enable Kenyan and Nigerian agri-entrepreneurs to become tractor owners at a reduced cost and without requiring any security given they have a farmer network.

    The financing model will require a tractor owner to only pay five per cent upfront of the total tractor cost--from between Sh3.5 million to 5 million. This is repaid through a flexible tenure of between three to five years.

    Interest rates will range from 10-14%, depending on the borrower's creditworthiness.

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    Before qualifying, the loanee will need to have pre-booked 1,235 acres for ploughing in the Hello Tractor app. Depending on the value of the tractor and the number of implements, up to Sh 850 will be deducted for every acre of land serviced to pay down the loan.

    “This is a simple, affordable, and flexible tractor finance program. Unlike traditional banks, we are also in tune with the nuanced dynamics within African agriculture. This helps us better serve farmers,” said Belinder Jabuya, Hello Tractor’s PAYG Account Manager.

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    Agricultural mechanisation in Africa helps to overcome labour bottlenecks, enabling farmers to cultivate up to 61 per cent more land on time and report over 71 per cent more yield. Despite this, around 80-90 per cent of farmers on the continent still rely on manual labour or draught animals.

    Beyond providing affordable tractor financing, the Tractors 4 Africa project is purposefully geared to bring more of the continent's land under mechanised agriculture.

    Hello Tractor: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
                          +254 (0) 706 033 976

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    5050 d john deere tractor 500x500 1

    By George Munene

    US agriculture equipment maker John Deere and AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) are running a competition for Kenyan youth engaged in agriculture whose winner will take home a 50 Horsepower, 5050D TWD John Deere Tractor.

    The competition will run until 31st March 2022.

    The  #JohnDeereAGRACompetition will be open to:

    • A registered youth group (semi-small and medium-sized enterprises- SMEs) based in Kenya

    They must be registered as an SME according to the relevant laws of Kenya and by the relevant authorities (Ministry Of Public Service, Youth And Gender Affairs – State Department for Youth Affairs) in Kenya and have a valid registration certificate with a verifiable membership list. At-least 80% of their members must be between 18 and 35 years old.

    *Registration documents will be required

    • Involved in commercial agriculture activity

    A minimum of 80% of their operations should be focused on an agriculture venture along the value chain.

    • In operation for at least 3 years

    The groups do not need to be cash-flow positive, however, they will be required to have revenues to be considered.

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    Eligible applicants (youth groups/semi SMEs in Kenya) need to submit a business plan outlining their plan for running and managing a Mechanisation Service Provision business, after which the most compelling business plan shall be announced as the winner

    This forms part of a partnership between AGRA and John Deer that is committed to uplifting small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). AGRA will offer support programs for business skills and financial management, while John Deere, through its Dealer Network, provides

    support with operator training, technician development, and after-sales services. In addition, John Deere also provides financing of equipment through John Deere Financial.

    For details on the competition’s guidelines for eligibility criteria, business plan format, evaluation criteria and terms and conditions click here: Competition Guidlines

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