Groundnut Tools

Groundnut Stripper

Groundnuts, or peanut as they're commonly known, are one of the most important crops of the developing world. They're native to South America, and thrive throughout Asia, East and West Africa, where they're a staple crop and an important source of nutrition for millions.

Small farmers in developing countries have access to only rudimentary tools for harvesting and processing their groundnuts.

They work long, strenuous hours with limited productivity—time that could be spent growing more crops or starting businesses.

In 2010, CTI conducted a needs assessment survey with hundreds of groundnut farmers in Malawi and Tanzania. The farmers told us in very clear terms that the biggest constraints they face producing groundnuts are harvesting, stripping (removal of pods from plants) and shelling.

Emerging Groundnut Technologies 

CTI is developing efficient, manually-operated groundnut processing tools that will help farmers:

  • Reduce drudgery
  • Save time
  • Raise incomes

Our team of engineers and researchers are collaborating with African farmers, whom we consider our co-designers, and are adapting our designs based on their feedback. 

Traditional GNut Harvesting

Harvester

Women traditionally harvest their groundnuts by digging them by hand with a hoe and lifting the plant out of the ground. In villages with access to livestock, farmers sometimes use oxen to dig up the nuts and then lift them out of the ground by hand.

CTI has been designing equipment for both manual and animal-powered harvesting. Following field trials and evaluations with farmers in Africa, our engineers are modifying their designs and will ask farmers to reevaluate the new designs in the next harvest season.

Trad GNut StrippingGnut Stripper Proto




Stripper

After harvesting their crops, farmers (typically women) prepare their groundnuts for storage by stripping the pods from the plant by hand, one at a time.

To help farmers expedite the tedious stripping process, CTI's team of engineers and researchers delved through journal articles and investigated existing technologies for stripping groundnuts. The team also developed new designs, ultimately building three prototypes comprised of new and existing design concepts.

In field tests, one device was widely favored by the farmers, and it happened to be based on an existing technology that the researchers had stumbled upon in a warehouse of old agricultural tools.

The stripper is comprised of a frame topped with woven metal—a material similar to chain link fencing. When a farmer slides their groundnut plant across metal, the nuts get snagged and easily pop off the plant. The design is simple, but exceptionally effective.

Almost all farmers preferred the device because it's straightforward and easy to operate by one or more people. CTI's engineers made a few design improvements based on farmer feedback, but ultimately stayed true to the original's elegant simplicity.

In the spring of 2012, 32 rural villages in Malawi and Tanzania were the first to receive CTI's new prototype strippers, which allow them to strip their groundnuts approximately 3 times faster than doing so by hand.

 
GNut Sheller Proto

Sheller

Farmers spend days shelling thousands of nuts by hand so they can sell them for their income. The painful work is long and tedious, and is a major constraint on groundnut production. If farmers can shell nuts quicker, they can sell more nuts to traders and earn higher incomes. 

After evaluating existing designs for manual groundnut shelling, the CTI team developed a new sheller prototype, which was field tested in 2012. The CTI-designed sheller is currently undergoing design modifications, and along with the harvester and stripper prototypes, will be evaluated again by farmers in summer 2013.