Feature: Chinese agricultural technologies excite Kenyans amid quest for food security
NAIROBI, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Visitors to the sixth edition of the Kenya International Industrial Expo, which opened in the capital Nairobi on Thursday, were drawn to the stands of Chinese manufacturers offering advanced agricultural technologies aimed at enhancing food security.
One of the Chinese companies that attracted attention at the expo was the Nanyang Goodway Machinery and Equipment Company, a manufacturer specializing in cassava and potato processing machines.
Tony Zhang, the project manager, expressed the company's delight at the curiosity generated by the machines, which facilitate value addition to Kenya's crucial food crops. "We have developed affordable and suitable machines that can help even small-scale farmers and entrepreneurs reduce post-harvest losses through the processing of potatoes and cassava before they go to waste."
Among the onlookers was Brian Maina, a mechanical engineer who found the machines on display inspiring. He spoke of his ambition to initiate small-scale potato processing in his home county of Nyandarua, situated approximately 130 km northwest of Nairobi.
Maina noted the significant losses suffered by farmers in Nyandarua County, a major potato producer in Kenya, due to a lack of market for their perishable fresh produce. "We need advanced machines that can help process the potatoes before they rot, especially after a bumper harvest," Maina said, adding that he will raise funds to purchase a Chinese machine that can turn potatoes into snacks and animal feed.
The three-day expo, held under the theme "Driving Growth in Kenya's Manufacturing Sector through Technology," featured 200 Chinese exhibitors.
Gao Wei, the managing director of Afripeak Expo Kenya, the event's organizer, said the trade fair showcased products spanning general machinery, construction machinery, hardware and tools, solar products, auto parts, chemical products, and medical equipment sectors. Gao said the exhibition served as a platform to introduce Kenyans to the latest industrial technology from China, offering practical solutions to individuals from all walks of life.
Martin Lekolool, a 36-year-old pastoralist, was fascinated by the stand of Jiangxi Bangcheng Animal Pharmaceutical Company. Lekolool, who raises a herd of cows and goats in Kajiado County, bordering Nairobi to the south, attentively listened to a salesperson from the Chinese pharmaceutical company explaining the benefits of their animal antibiotics.
He explained how fluctuating weather patterns had affected the health of his livestock, preventing him from selling them in the local market. "I hope to find a reliable source of Chinese medicines that will improve the health of my livestock."
Pius Rotich, the general manager of Investment Promotion and Business Development Services at the Kenya Investment Authority, highlighted the expo's role in exposing Kenyans to the latest agricultural machinery that can help the country expand the value addition of its farm produce.
Rotich noted that post-harvest losses are one of the reasons why Kenya faces a high import bill for agricultural produce, hence the need for farmers to acquire technologies that can address this challenge.
Benjamin Odembo, a maize farmer from Kenya's Rift Valley region, praised the expo for allowing him to connect with a Chinese manufacturer of grain storage facilities.
Odembo said he was impressed by the Taian Shelley Engineering Company, which fabricates silos for storing grains that can withstand harsh climatic conditions. "I hope to conclude the purchase of a modern maize storage facility before the end of the expo."