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Farmer innovation contests were organized in the counties of Bungoma, Kakamega and Siaya with the help of KALRO scientists. Local farmers sent a total of 346 applications to the contest, 151 of which were deemed eligible innovations for the contest.

The winners received prizes equivalent to 750,000 KES (750 USD), 50,000 KES (500 USD) and 30,000 KES (300 USD) for first, second and third place, respectively. The winning innovations were primarily innovations related to crop protection (40%), followed by animal health (28%). The remainder of the innovations related to livestock production and post-harvest handling.

Innovator showcase

Stanley Mukhaya Imbusy – Best Male Innovator, Kakamega County

Innovation: Domesticating stingless bees

Stingless bee farming is an innovation that aims to conserve the endangered stingless bee of Kakamega forest and its neighborhood. The genesis of innovation was a concern over the destructive harvesting of stingless bees (colonies) which is an important source of honey with special medicinal value.

Stanley domesticates stingless bees by using special hives (15cm*15cm*45cm) with a 1.5cm opening at the bottom to allow for hive cleaning by the bees. The bees are managed through use of different agroforestry species as source of nectar and provision of water. Honey is harvested continuously through staggered colonization of hives.

The innovator’s stingless bees

Carolyne Wameme — Best youth innovator, Bungoma County

Innovation: Storage of fresh sweet potatoes

Storage of fresh sweet potatoes innovation

This is an innovation that addresses the high perishability of sweet potatoes after harvest; which leads to food insecurity and poor marketability. The innovation was intended to reduce the high losses of fresh sweet potatoes after harvest in glut periods and enable the farmers to consume and / or sell at an appropriate time without rushing and therefore increases farmers’ incomes.

Carolyne harvests sweet potato tubers and begins by sorting them to remove the damaged ones. She then digs a hole under a tree and layers it with dry grass upon which undamaged tubers are placed.  The hole is filled with alternating layers, and covered with a layer of dry grass and then soil.  During the dry season the area is watered to keep the tubers fresh. The layers of dry grass allows fresh air circulation thus keeping tubers fresh.  In this way, the tubers can be stored and remain fresh for up to three months availing food.

Cornelius Otieno Obonyo — Best Male Innovator, Siaya County

Innovation: Kodaclom poultry

Cornelius developed this innovation out of concern over high chick mortality rates and feed waste. The innovation ensures a clean environment for feeding and watering, while minimizing feed waste.

Cornelius Otieno Obonyo and his poultry brooder.                                   Image source: Prolinnova Kenya

The brooder is constructed using various sizes of plastic containers (20 liters round containers to build perforated floor, top and side walls; 10 liter round containers for feed; and two 3 liter containers for water). The water containers are supported and the feed troughs and water containers are filled. Once that is done, the constructed brooder is disinfected, dried and conditioned to room temperature and the hatched chicks (up to 50) are placed in the brooder.