Eldoret show focuses on mechanised agriculture

Baler machine at the show capable of making 20 bales in five minutes.Photos Stanley Magut.
Baler machine at the show capable of making 20 bales in five minutes.Photos Stanley Magut.

This year's Eldoret ASK show centred on how farmers can use technology to boost productivity.

Under the theme ‘Enhancing Technology in Agriculture and Industry for Food Security and National Growth’, the fair, that was held last week at the Eldoret show ground, attracted more than 150 exhibitors who sought to educate farmers on new research and technologies that will improve their farming.

According to the Eldoret show chairman Ratcliffe Nangalama, the fair was aimed at positioning the region towards achieving its sustainable development goals.

"The farmers and business people who attended the show will benefit greatly from various research innovations. This will contribute to the realisation of the region's goals of zero hunger, no poverty, mechanised farming, agribusiness, clean water and sanitation and making the region an economic hub,” Nangalama said.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago urged farmers to adopt new technologies to maximise production.

"This is a century whereby modern methods of farming are key in driving agriculture for maximum profits and high quality produce,” Mandago said.

"I am very delighted that farmers have benefited from various exhibitors in the show and they should practise what they learnt in their farms,” he added.

The show dwelt on agribusiness, research and technology, biodiversity, environmental conservation among other areas.

Some of the top innovations included:

Baler maker machine

One of the top attractions at the show was a bale maker machine, which compresses raked crops including hay, silage and straw into compact bales.

Imported from the United Kingdom, the baler is capable of making 20 bales per single line in five minutes, as opposed to the manual way, which is time-consuming.

Maize variety tolerant to MLND

For the past three years, the maize lethal necrosis disease has been ravaging the crop in the Rift Valley region.

Kenya Seed Company is in the process of coming up with a maize seed variety that will have some tolerance to the disease.

According to Kenya Seed head of sales and marketing Sammy Chepsiror, they have partnered with local and international researchers and the seed will be in the market in the next one year.

"Farmers registered huge losses in the previous planting seasons but through our extensive sensitisation sessions on how to control the disease, its effects have reduced,” Chepsiror said.

"The disease was caused by poor farming methods which farmers had ignored. However, the new seed variety is on the pipeline and farmers will have no worries again. At the same time, our current seed varieties manufacturing technology has been enhanced thus can withstand any challenge,” Chepsiror added.

Sugarcane juice machine

A simple machine used to make sugarcane juice was showcased at the fair. This could just be a solution to the high unemployment among the youth, especially those coming from sugar cane growing regions.

"You simply wash the sugarcane and cut into small pieces and grind them using the machine. You then add ginger, turmeric and lemon to make the medicinal juice, which can be used in treating various ailments depending on the ingredients,” Peter Muli, the exhibitor, said.

ICT in agriculture

Integration of Information and Communication Technology in agriculture is slowly being adopted by farmers in the country.

"We can apply ICT in computerised farm machineries, for example, how we feed and monitor our animals, crop information system etc,” Uasin Gishu county ICT executive Barnaba Sang said.