One of the Best Innovations on Display at the Nairobi Trade Fair

A student in one local university has come up with a hydraulic ram pump that only uses the energy of a large amount of water falling from a small height to lift a faction of the water to a greater height. “You place the pump in a stream or river which flows into the machine which then pumps the water to a greater height,” said Jomo Kenya University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) lecturer Richard Njihia who invented the machine. Njihia, who is stationed at the mechanical engineering department, said the water can be pumped to a homestead for domestic use or irrigation purposes.

Depending on the difference in the height between the inlet pipe and the outlet pipe, the water pump will lift one to 30 per cent of the water that flows into it. On a 1.5 metre inclination, the pump can lift water to a height of 10 metres. As much as its use is restricted to situations where falling water is available, it is an inexpensive system that is simple to construct and install, has minimum maintenance and is pollution free. The only costs a buyer incurs is purchase. The pump goes for between Sh60,000 to Sh120,000. But the local invention is worth every penny, especially to farmers, as it can pump up to 20,000 litres of water within 24 hours which can serve a family for several months when used for domestic purposes.

Automated Feeder Another machine showcased by JKUAT at the Nairobi International Trade Fair is an automated animal feeding unit which monitors feeds and reloads the feeding trough. The machine was invented by a former engineering student Joshua Keter who is currently testing the product. The machine can be used on cows or poultry. Keter said growing up in a family that practised dairy farming sparked his passion to make the machine that can make the life of a farmer easy. “You will see that my product cuts on cost and time for the farmer who can be doing something else,” he says.

The machine is easily portable and can use any power outlet including electricity or a generator. The products, among others, helped crown JKUAT the best in the innovation and invention category in the 2015 Nairobi International Trade Fair. One interesting development in the food and nutrition section is the use of the cactus plant to come up with different drinks. A juice concentrate extracted from the plants fruits mostly found in dry areas can be used to make healthy juices, wine, jam, marmalade and flavours for yoghurts among other uses. The wine is currently awaiting approval from Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) before it is released to the market. The seeds, which contain unsaturated fats, are dried and ground into flour which can be used for baking pastries with the normal all purpose flour.

Research has shown that the plant is rich in antioxidants, which help to burn excess cholesterol from the body. It is also rich in phytochemicals, which help to detoxify the body and in the treatment of prostate cancer and stomach ulcers.  Laxative Effect It’s juice provides one with beta-carotene, vitamin B, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, calcium and numerous other minerals and vitamins. The drink has shown to help to prevent inflammation in the muscles, arteries, gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular region. It has a laxative effect and has shown to effectively treat constipation. Cactus juice can reduce inflammation in the urethra and bladder. This has shown to help reduce pain experienced by individuals with bladder infections and gallstones. The juice is a popular beverage in Mexico, South America, India, the Middle East and parts of Europe.

This beverage has also recently caught popularity in the US.
Miraa has also been researched on by the institution and discovered to also make juices, wine and jam. The products have already been given the okay to be distributed to the public. The university makes more from the products through orders. JKUAT’s were also crowned to have the most striking display, as the best institution of higher learning in development and advanced technology and the best stand in research development.

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