For the 30 years Mzee Peter Mbugua Ndung’u has been working with metal and metal sheets, his main preoccupation has been to make affordable implements that are used in everyday life.
He recently made a simple machine that can simplify life for urban livestock farmers who operate in a small space.
His earlier inventions include portable machines for crushing maize and maize cobs, which he named stock crusher and another for cutting fodder into small pieces, which he called a chopper machine.
However, he realised all these machines would not be of interest to an urban farmer with limited storage space. That is how Mbugua decided to make a multipurpose machine that has catapulted him into the limelight beyond Kenyan borders.
“During an exhibition in Nakuru, a local university wanted me to let them reproduce this machine but I refused,” Mbugua said during an interview at his workshop in Ol Kalou town, Nyandarua County.
He has since patented the machine to protect it from imitation. The machine named Posh Mix has become Mbugua’s flagship invention.
“The equipment is a combination of four machines and it is capable of milling grain, crushing stalks, cutting chaff and mixing dry matter into a perfect animal or chicken feed,” Mbugua said.
He has sold the machine in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania during international exhibitions.
LACK OF SUPPORT
“Locally, I have sold the machine to people who travelled from as far as Meru and Kitui after they learnt about it from people who attended various exhibitions and shows I took part in,” he said.
Mbugua said his interest in the Jua Kali sector started in the 1980s after it was championed by President Daniel arap Moi to promote the nation’s development.
“I am nostalgic when I remember the days Jua Kali exhibitions were being held under the sponsorship of the cigarette maker, BAT. The exhibitions used to be held in all East African countries,” he said.
The many certificates on display at his Mburpus Engineering Works workshop in Ol Kalou town attest to the many exhibitions he has attended over the years.
However, Mbugua laments that the sector has not grown in Nyandarua due to wrangles among officials, the grabbing of land meant for Jua kali sheds and lack of support from the county government.
“No elections have been held for the leadership of Jua Kali artisans in Nyandarua for many years. In addition, due to the lack of place to set up Jua Kali businesses in the county, many youths interested in learning various skills are just idling at home,” he said.
He fears that due to lack of organised Jua Kali sector in Nyandarua, individual artisans are likely to miss out when affordable housing projects are launched in the county.
The national government has indicated that the Sh3 billion tenders for doors and window frames for the housing plan will go to local artisans.