- Dennis Manwa, a lab technician at the institution, displayed the pesticides and insecticides made from garlic, tobacco, citrus, neem, pyrethrum and red pepper.
- Garlic is crushed without drying to make the pesticide.
- Biogas International through Flexi Biogas displayed a flexible digester for biogas manufacture, which is convenient and easy to move around on the farm.
A good number of visitors arrived in private vehicles, others boarded matatus and while the rest came to the University of Eldoret agri-business trade fair held last week on bike or foot.
They all braved a chilly weather as they sought to learn various technologies, innovations and practices to better their agribusinesses.
Seeds of Gold team was at the event and picked a number of innovations that would better the way you practice your farming.
At the University of Eldoret stand, farmers learnt how to make affordable bio-pesticides and bio-fertiliser using materials readily available on the farm.
Dennis Manwa, a lab technician at the institution, displayed the pesticides and insecticides made from garlic, tobacco, citrus, neem, pyrethrum and red pepper.
“These plants have one thing in common, they have a strong smell that causes irritation on pests or insects making them stay away from crops,” he said.
Garlic is crushed without drying to make the pesticide. Only pyrethrum is dried first, says Manwa. After crushing, it is soaked in hot/boiled water overnight and then it is ready for use.
“The amount to be used depends on the spread of the infestation. We have presented to Kephis the product, among others, and some of our farm made bio-pesticides are approved. We are working to patent them,” he noted.
Few metres from Manwa was a colleague, Jane Yaura, a seed expert who explained how to use red worms to produce bio-fertiliser through vermicomposting technology.
“To start, one collects plant materials that include maize stalks then puts them in a specially made vermicast container hosting worms. The moisture should be between 500C and 700C to prevent the worms from dying,” she said, noting a half kilo of worms named Red wiggler (Einesia foetida) goes for Sh2,500 while a kilo is Sh5,000
This is left for between two to four days for the worms to decompose the waste, after which it would be ready for use.
“The worms further release urine known as worm tea, which can also be used as fertiliser. One can also produce the worms for sale to other farmers,” said Yaura while noting the many opportunities.
Away from the bio-pesticide, several machines that can improve efficiency at farm level were also on display. There was an improvised solar-powered dryer and a maize thresher powered by peddling.
The solar-powered dryer is made of a glass structure where the produce is placed. Attached to it is a black structure where the sun rays heat up and release airwaves upwards to the other compartment drying the maize.
On the other hand, the maize thresher is peddled to perform the task. About 65 Dutch companies were at the show to share with farmers some of their technologies.
Meindert den Ouden, a Dutch expert, explained how a ‘low volume application treatment machine’ can help potato farmers treat seeds before planting.
“It is also called a potato shower, which sprays seeds with a biological solution called Trianum. Apart from controlling diseases such as black spot and Rhizoctonia, it also stimulates growth,” he noted, adding that currently, they don’t sale the machine, but charge farmers with over 50 acres for using it.
That is, if they buy the Trianum bio-pesticide product from Hanse Staalbouw/Koppert.