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Scientist on a mission to curb deadly aflatoxin

Saturday August 31 2019

Dr Isaiah Muchilwa demonstrates to Purity Jerotich and Sylvia Okello how his mootle checks moisture levels in cereals, vegetables and fruits.

Dr Isaiah Muchilwa demonstrates to Purity Jerotich and Sylvia Okello how his mootle checks moisture levels in cereals, vegetables and fruits. According to him, most farmers rely on the sun to dry their maize yet being in the tropics makes the country receive a lot of rains. PHOTO | STANLEY KIMUGE | NMG 

STANLEY KIMUGE
By STANLEY KIMUGE
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The small plastic tin placed on a sack of beans resembles any other, until one notices what looks like a digital clock attached to the lid.

The ‘clock’ shows a figure and a percentage and keeps blinking, perhaps affirming the reading.

This is a moisture meter, an innovation of Dr Isaiah Muchilwa, a lecturer at the department of electrical and communications engineering at Moi University.

“I came up with the gadget to assist grain growers curb post-harvest losses,” says Dr Muchilwa at a grocery store in Eldoret, where Seeds of Gold found him showing traders how to use it.

It has taken him years of research and back and forth to perfect the gadget that he has dubbed Mootle.

“This machine monitors the level of moisture or humidity in dried grains such as maize and rice, oil seeds, legumes like beans, vegetables, fruits and even dried fish and omena,” he says, adding that it also checks whether honey is adulterated. The ‘digital clock’ attac