Maize Thresher (Innovators: Stephen Ssekanyo (Team leader E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org), Pidson Abaho and Samalie Nakaggwe)
The need: InUganda facts and figures from the grassroots research paint a gloomy picture of the country’s food security situation. High on the list of causative factors is poor post-harvest handling, where most farmers incur losses, cumulatively leading to loss of billions of shillings during harvest. In most districts, the average weight loss as a result of poor post-harvest handling is 30,000 metric tons of maize, worth over Shs13billion. Maize is one of the core food and cash crop in sub-Saharan Africa, but yet due to little or no access to technologies to enable its efficient processing, maize production is still low compared to what is needed on the market. To make matters worse, farmers still use indigenous methods of threshing and winnowing maize during the post-harvest processes which are labor intensive, time wasting, the grain easily gets contaminated from soil particles, broken cobs, and the maize grains get broken thus loosing nutritious parts of a substantial portion of the seed.
The Innovation: ‘KUNGULA’ – Thresh IT; is an optimized post-harvest handling low cost technology for mechanized threshing and winnowing of maize. ‘Kungula’ is a local term meaning ‘harvest’. The solution includes a mechanized thresher targeting large scale growers and; a low-cost manual thresher for small scale farmers. The unit processes associated with these machines includes a winnowing fan that subsequently increases the quality of the maize grain. This thresher differs from other existing machines on the market because it incorporates a centrifugal winnowing fan that protects maize grain from the external contaminants, releasing out chaff and dust.
Innovators and part of the RAN Team appreciating the locally fabricated Maize Thresher in collaboration with the Innovation Consortium Limited Team
The impact: The improved output efficiency will result into shorter farm-to-market turn-around-time while the improved post-harvest value addition will translate into better farmer leverage in the produce markets as farmers present higher quality produce. To-date, the team has engaged approximately 20 farmers to gather insights on the design of the machinery. This helped in shaping the project specifications relating to mobility, size, weight and cost. The team has continuously benefited from the RAN Innovation Garage sessions working closely with the Innovation Consortium Limited engineers to refine the prototype.