Groundnut Tools

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CTI has developed a suite of mechanized groundnut processing technologies designed to increase smallholder producers’ productivity, improve the quality of their groundnuts, and reduce women’s labor.

The suite of devices harvest groundnuts, strip pods from the roots, and shell whole nuts.

The lifter, stripper, and sheller were designed by a team of engineers and researchers from CTI and ICRISAT, in collaboration with smallholders from Malawi and Tanzania. Prior to developing the tools, the design team surveyed and interviewed 248 groundnut growing families in the Kasungu and Lilongwe districts of central Malawi to collect baseline socio-economic data and identify the primary constraints associated with groundnut production. The tools were field-tested extensively in the groundnut producing belt of Malawi from 2011 to 2014 and modified based on farmers’ feedback.

Emerging Groundnut Technologies 

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Oxen-Powered Lifter

Farmers traditionally harvest groundnuts by digging them with a hand-hoe and manually lifting the plants from the ground. CTI’s oxen-powered lifter consists of a frame with a blade that sinks below the ground’s surface to cut the roots of the groundnut vines and loosen the soil as the oxen or small tractor pulls forward. On the back of the blade, steel rods shake off excess soil and lift the plant away from the ground. The lifter can be adjusted to accommodate the heights of different users.

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Stripper

After harvest, farmers traditionally spend several days tediously plucking groundnut pods from the plants by hand. CTI’s stripper is comprised of an A-shaped frame covered with a woven metal screen, similar to chain link fencing.

To operate the stripper, the user simply drags a groundnut plant across screen, putting pressure on the pods with one hand which allows the metal to snag the groundnut pods away from the plant and drop them through the screen to the ground or over a tarp.

 
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Sheller

Typically, groundnuts are shelled by hand, and most often by women. Farmers commonly wet their pods to soften their shells, causing considerable risk of contamination from bacteria, fungus, and aflatoxin.

CTI’s sheller is a hand-operated device that scrapes groundnut pods between a rotating disk and stationary steel rods. The gap between the disk and rods narrows as the nuts fall down the sheller, and the nuts are easily shelled with minimal broken or split kernels.