Transfer of Indian farm and food processing machinery to promote food security in Kenya.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI) will transfer three types of low-cost mechanization and processing equipment to Kenya viz. Honey Bee Frugal Tiller, Honey Bee Frugal Food processing machine and Honey Bee Frugal Dibbler. SRISTI and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology will demonstrate and diffuse these technologies and promote local manufacturing to ensure long-term sustainability

This program is aimed at replicating the Indian success in the adoption of grassroots innovations for farm mechanization in Africa. Based on a comprehensive assessment and the need for technology intervention to improve agricultural productivity in Kenya, SRISTI will promote agriculture equipment developed by Indian grass-roots innovators to address the food security challenges. The work done by SRISTI in the last 25 years to promote grassroots innovations demonstrates the sustainable Indian business model. In order to replicate this success, SRISTI will catalyze the transfer of three technological interventions in three major areas: (a) Planting - Honey Bee Dibbler; (b) Cultivation - Honey Bee Tiller (also termed as “Bullet Santi”); and (c) Post-harvest processing of farm produce - Honey Bee Food Processing Machine. The program which has been funded by USAID is going to take place over three years starting from October 1, 2013.

Program Goals and Objectives:

The program will increase small holder farmer’s access to technology, build the capacity of individual farmers, producers groups and entrepreneurs in production, marketing, application and management of proposed technologies and foster enabling environment to ensure sustainability. This program also supports USAID India’s objective of sharing Indian agriculture innovations that address constraints to agriculture sector productivity and enhance climate resilience, will foster enabling environment, and expand markets and trade. The overall goal of this program is to improve agricultural productivity and food security in Africa by fostering agriculture mechanization among the small-holder farmers using Indian grassroots innovations.

  • Promote the use of machinery in agriculture to reduce power for increasing agricultural productivity;
  • Foster a conducive environment for adoption of Indian innovation in agriculture mechanization in Kenya;
  • Promote learning and exchange of Indian experience and best practices to support food security in select Kenya

SRISTI and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) are conducting demonstrations, training and capacity building as well as building an ecosystem of stakeholders around these technologies. The team is also promoting local manufacturing/assembly to ensure long-term sustainability. The program aims to increase small holder farmers’ access to technology, build the capacity of individual farmers, producers’ groups and entrepreneurs for sustaining this ecosystem.

Project regions

Two specific ecological zones which are inhabited mostly by small and marginal farmers were selected as the target areas of the project (Figure 1).


Figure 1: Target areas selected within Kenya

i) High Rainfall Region (HR 1):
This includes the districts of Bungoma, Busia, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kakamega, Nandi, Kericho, Kisii, Kakamega, Nandi, Kericho and Kisumu. Some parts of these regions have rainforest; others have vast catchments of water and forest fringe areas. The low lying areas have low productivity where machinery can help in improving the timeliness of operations.

ii) Semi-arid Region (SA 2):
This region, which comprises Machakos, Kitui, Makueni, Kajado and Taita Taveta, has a vast range of agro-climatic conditions ranging from semi-arid to coastal region. Sorghum, millet, beans, horticulture are grown predominantly in dry regions.

The farm machinery can help in bringing a larger area under cultivation. The scope for the adoption and utilization of the Bullet Santi and food processing machine is much higher. In addition to the proposed machinery, the program will also explore opportunities to deploy other relevant farm implements to improve productivity, timeliness and reduction in drudgery.

Activities carried out so far:
The first sample consignment of the three technologies was sent to Kenya on 11th Jan 2013. An exploratory visit was organized in February and March 2014 during which demonstrations of all the three technologies took place and feedback was collected. From March to June, the team worked on technologies and made necessary modifications to make them suitable to the Kenyan conditions. Meanwhile, the Kenyan counterparts were also modifying some parts of the machine. By mid July, the team started making efforts to develop a network on entrepreneurs, fabricators, suppliers and repairpersons. We met several stake holders in the course of the next two months. People who could play critical roles in the diffusion and training processes were also identified. In November and December, training and demonstration sessions were held at these places in the presence of the original fabricators of the technologies. Currently, demonstrations and training activities are still continuing in Kenya.

Success stories

Annual Report

Transfer Three Technological Interventions

Product Catalogue in Swahili

United States and India Help Improve Farming in Africa - Press Release - 30th Oct, 2013

US Ambassador Richard R. Verma mentions SRISTI at the Global Sankalp Summit held on April 9, 2015 in New Delhi