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Diary- The Great Student Challenge!

John Ngoka Ngala

MSc Food security and community nutrition (2nd year), Gulu University, Uganda.

Saturday morning 8th October, 2022, the 24-hour journey begun from Uganda. I enjoyed roasted banana and boiled groundnuts along the way to Kampala. The clock ticked and by 6pm the same day, we boarded the bus to Kenya. We arrived at Nakuru and warmly welcomed by Mr. Victor.

Arrival at Nakuru, Kenya

First week was loaded with field work which included visits to Homabay, Kisumu and Siaya counties. The most exciting opportunity that stood out was the team work. It involved Gulu, Egerton, HAMK universities’ students and the members of Dala Rieko CBO (Dala Rieko means, Home of knowledge) in the making of a compost manure with water hyacinth which was harvested from a nearby swamp.

Harvesting of water hyacinth from the swamp (left) and making of Compost Manure (right) at Dala Reiko

During the company visits, we visited Biofit feeds, Flexi biogas international & CIST Africa limited companies involved in animal feeds, biogas and bioethanol production. In the project, I was involved in the assessment of the bioethanol production value chain. The lessons learnt were outstanding, including the potential of other plants in its production other than water hyacinth and the sustainability of bioethanol production from water hyacinth.

BioFit FEEDS (left) and CIST Africa ltd (right)

I made new friends from Egerton and HAMK universities such as Agnes, Michael Chepkur, Gladys Koech, Fahad, Ceryl, Steve and Xandra, Matilda, respectively, e.t.c. The culture shock was unexpected especially the Finnish culture but guess what, we finally bonded! To my Gulu counterparts, we further cemented our friendships.

Another event worth remembering for a lifetime is the field visit to Lord Egerton Castle. Lord Egerton was allegedly rejected by a princess even after building a 52-roomed mansion after earlier claiming that the initial building was a Dogs’ kennel. The frequent meals and comfortable accommodation at ARC hotel was over the moon. The skits and refreshments epitomized the rather successful stay at Egerton University. What a visit!

To the following: Prof. Basil Mugonola (in absentia), Prof. Mwanarusi Saidi, Prof. Patience Mshenga, Ms Teija, Mr. Victor, Mr. Jabu and Mr. Derrick, receive my utmost regards and appreciation for the well-organized challenge especially the farewell cocktail dinner- it was amazing!


Musika Rogious - Gulu Student

The value chain which water hyacinth goes through is very interesting because it’s not just an animal feed until it has gone through this process and we f´got the chance to see it firsthand during the field work.

Harvesting The water floating is picked from the water where it is freely floating, sorted to remove unwanted parts and foreign materials and cleaned.


  • The water hyacinth is then dried to reduce the moisture content

  • After drying crushed into small pieces by factory machinery. This makes available the small pieces which can easily be further broken down.

  • The fermentation process takes a few days where a fungus is added to the water hyacinth to improve on its crude protein and digestibility.


The water hyacinth cake becomes the final product here which can be bought as a single feed stock or further processed by adding other inclusions at the factory.

The final product will be dependent on the type of livestock the feed is intended for i.e dairy meal, calf pellets, poultry feeds or fish meals respectively.

Asanteni sana! Apwoyo matek!

1 Comment

Dec 16, 2022

Beautiful lessons and experiences.

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