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Wednesday,October 28,2020 12:32 PM

Farmers to have clean produce

By Carol Kasujja

Added 21st August 2020 03:52 PM

Makerere University recently developed a seed cleaner equipment to help small scale farmer groups and schools in rural areas improve the quality of their produce and lives.

Farmers to have clean produce

A farmer using the machine. Courtesy photos

Makerere University recently developed a seed cleaner equipment to help small scale farmer groups and schools in rural areas improve the quality of their produce and lives.

FARMING | AGRIBUSINESS

One-way grain farmers can improve the quality of their produce is by investing in equipment to remove impurities like dust, stones, rodent droppings and at the same time dry and grade it.

Makerere University recently developed a seed cleaner equipment to help small scale farmer groups and schools in rural areas improve the quality of their produce and lives.

The multipurpose seed cleaner which is being piloted in Kamuli district, can clean half a tone in less than an hour compared to what farmers do to clean five bags.

It consists of a bicycle-like pedaling system, hopper, a centrifugal fan and three cleaning sieves. Over 1000 households have been trained and benefited from the equipment.



"We developed a pedal operated cleaner to boost post-harvest seed cleaning. Research in the postharvest handling technologies for small scale farmers has for a long time been dealing with drying, threshing and storage neglecting cleaning, Yet, cleaning is considered to be one of the most done by women using trays and baskets.

Using trays and baskets is associated with cheeks paining as a result of continuous blowing of chaff by mouth," said Dr Peter Tumutegyereize, a lecturer in the department of agriculture and engineering.

He added that with the machine, dust, stones, metals and magnets and any other unwanted material from grains especially after harvesting will be removed.

Even the issue of diseases resulting from too much dust will be dealt with.

"Determined with the vision of advancing a sustainable agricultural system using intermediate technologies, unclean seed and foreign materials that have been promoting mold development, resulting to dry matter loss, nutritional changes, seed quality loss, aflatoxin contamination and post-harvest losses (PHLs) during storage and processing will be no more," Tumutegyereize said.


Speaking to New Vision, Thomas Buyinza, a post-harvest specialist at Iowa State University Uganda chapter, noted that the technology is affordable, simple, efficient, time saving and requires no require electricity or fuel to operate hence can easily be operated.

"It can be operated by one or two people instead of hiring 10 or more women to do the seed cleaning manually which takes a lot of time, energy and labour costs.

The machine will reduce post-harvest losses (PHLs), improve household food security, financial freedom and school study time," said Buyinza,

He called upon farmers in Kamuli who have been using wire meshes to take advantage of the machine and grow more maize, because they will have less time to clean.

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