Mushroom value addition among innovations at Nairobi show

Climate-smart technologies being showcased at the show.

In Summary
  • This year, the Nairobi ASK show is focusing on climate-smart technologies.
  • Most of the innovations and technologies are centered on climate resilience and value addition.
Robert Muchiri a mushroom farmer also doing value addition by making mushroom flour
Robert Muchiri a mushroom farmer also doing value addition by making mushroom flour

The Nairobi International Trade Fair enters day three and showgoers did not go home disappointed because there are some eye-catching technologies being showcased.  

This year, the Nairobi ASK show is focusing on climate-smart technologies and many innovations and technologies are centered towards climate resilience and value addition.

Here are some of the climate-smart innovations that are being showcased at the ASK.

Smart weather station

The smart weather station is being showcased by the University of Nairobi.

Arnold Bett from the University of Nairobi- Factuality of Science and Technology and Physics Department said they have come up with a smart weather station that is being used for predictive agriculture.

“The weather station monitors environmental conditions, we get the data and using an online based system, we compare the current weather condition with the previous ones. This information is what farmers use to plan their planting cycles putting in mind the weather conditions provided,” he said.

Bett said data on the speed and direction of the wind is also critical due to pollination of the crops. This can help farmers decide which crop to plant.

“For example, if your neighbor is planting a particular crop, you do not have to plant the same to avoid pollination of inferior seeds from one plant to another,” he added.

The system is able to advise according to the previous and current weather conditions as it gives real-time data.

The smart weather system will cost Sh100,000 and they will be targeting county governments, large-scale farmers, and cooperatives (for small-scale farmers).

“Large-scale farmers that are able to afford the system can put two or three within a large farm and get precise data. We are targeting cooperatives and also county governments to support small-scale farmers, Bett said.

"If county governments buy several of these systems and put them in different localities, small-scale farmers can then be able to subscribe for the services.”

“Insurance companies can also deploy these systems and get actual data for the weather conditions. We are still undertaking more research to improve on the technology.”

Gin from mahogany roots

If you are visiting the show, stop at the Ghanaian beverage manufacturer Kasapreko Company Limited stand and get a taste of their gin made from the roots of the mahogany tree.

Patrick Masope-Crabbe chairman of the Canary International General Trading based in Ghana said the Alomo bitters gin is made from the roots of the mahogany tree.

He said it is being introduced into the Kenyan market.

He said the word Alomo comes from Ghana’s native dialect used to refer to ‘my lover or intimate friend’. Alomo is popular in Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Ivory Coast, South Africa and Burkina Faso.

Alomo, a household bitters brand, comes in Alomo Bitters, Alomo Silver, and Alomo Gold which comes in bottles of 750ml.

“Alomo Bitters is made with purified water, plant extracts, and a neutral spirit. This results in a truly authentic herbal drink exquisitely crafted by nature's hands," Masope said.

"It is best served straight, on the rocks, or as part of an invigorating cocktail. It is revitalizing and is believed to have a natural health-boosting capacity.” 

Mushroom flour  

Robert Muchiri is making mushroom flour, thanks to the training he received on mushroom value addition at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

Mushroom floor
Mushroom floor

He said the mushroom flour is made from value-added fresh mushrooms.

The fresh mushrooms are dried, ground, and mixed to make flour. The flour is then mixed in certain rations with other products for easy consumption as a beverage to be able to make porridge flour.

“We add other products like cassava, omena, pumpkin seeds, or soya for easy consumption for people who are not able to take mushrooms easily," Muchiri said.

"If one likes peanuts, you can have the mushroom flour mixed with peanuts. That way you are able to take them both and the nutrients are easily absorbed in the body."

He pointed out that mushroom flour has high levels of protein and is cholesterol-free. All the components are antioxidants and they help to clean the body.

“Besides the high levels of proteins and cholesterol-free, it also provides minerals like magnesium and potassium. This helps in strengthening of the bones and formation of the blood,” he added.

Muchiri said the mushroom flour comes in different varieties including mushroom flour with cassava, soya, peanut, omena, stinging nettle, and millet.

The flour also comes in a mixture of mushroom, soya oats, and pumpkin seeds, and another mixture of mushrooms with cassava, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds.

He sells at Sh350 per half a kilo and one can get the flour online through the number 0702 195725. You can also get it at his outlet at Ruiru bypass in Kamakis area.

The mushroom flour is best for making porridge but the mushroom flour mixed with cassava can be mixed with maize flour to make ugali.

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