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October 9, 2018

“Made in Ndejje” Sheller Rescues Farmers

Ndejje University Faculty of Engineering has developed a manually pedal powered groundnut shelling machine that will ease stress and cries of small farmers over low productivity and market value for their produce.
The university's newly fabricated sheller is generally multi-purpose boosted by adjustable parts. It is also affordable to small community farmers and has been proved to produce very little wastage in terms of damaged seeds compared to other expensive hand cracked manual and powered technologies currently trending on the market.
Besides, the expensive shellers on the market have low shelling efficiencies and produce a high number of broken kernels.

Good shellers on the current market with good shelling efficiencies have market value ranging between Ug.Shs 550,000 to Ug.Shs 1,500,000 for both manual and powered machines. The Ndejje University fabricated sheller will however cost Ug.Shs 1,078,000/-according to machine estimates.
The Ndejje University innovation will consequently save Ugandan farmers from the time consuming traditional shelling methods that require a lot of labour and in particular hand shelling which leads to “sore thumb syndrome” when large quantities of groundnuts are handled. The low productivity of hand shelling in addition puts enormous pressure on farmers, as they need to shell their groundnuts before the marketing season.
The university final year students of Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and innovators of the project, Kizanye Stella and Ssemomwogerere Brian were upbeat about the work rate of the improved machine “Made from Ndejje sheller”

“Farmers have ended up selling unshelled groundnuts that give them very low market value. Now that will be history when the newly fabricated sheller goes on market. And to make it worse most farmers in rural areas have no electricity and therefore cannot use the current market powered shellers,” Kizanye said.
Ssemwogerere added, “Once the university embarks on mass production for the local market, farmers will be able to sell shelled groundnuts and avoid being cheated by unscrupulous businessmen. The economic situation of the farmers will consequently be boosted”.
The other advantages the farmers will reap from the improved technology include reduction in broken kernels, operation of the machine without electricity and little time spent in shelling the produce.

In Uganda tradition methods are used for shelling groundnuts. These include beating with sticks on a flat surface and the most common being use of hands and they are labor intensive. The use of hands is particularly good for the selection of seed for planting the following season as there is less damage to the seeds, thus avoiding fungal infections.
The traditional practice of shelling by placing pods into sacks and beating to break up is not recommended as this can produce a high level of damaged seeds. The purpose of shelling groundnuts is to improve farmers’ incomes since the price of kernel is 2-3 times higher than that for groundnuts sold in pods.
The other advantages include reduction on the transportation costs since the dry pods are more bulky than kernels taking up a lot of limited space and also improve the quality of the seeds and viability for germination.
There are a number of mechanical hand shellers on the market that can shell groundnuts at a rate of up to six bags an hour.

Shelling is done when groundnuts are required for consumption, marketing or for planting as the storage life of the seeds outside the shells is short and quality can reduce rapidly. With both hand and mechanical shelling, the seeds are checked and any discolored or mouldy groundnuts thrown away.
Groundnuts in Uganda are however grown mainly in the Northern, Eastern and Southern parts although the Eastern region has the highest production volume. In the North and Eastern, groundnuts are produced mainly on light, loose and sandy loams, but in Southern it is also grown in clay loams.

The produce is important to Ugandans both for proteins and edible oil and can be consumed raw, roasted, blanched as peanut butter, crushed and mixed with traditional dishes as a sauce for food.
Groundnuts are also important to people because with the costs of animal protein becoming increasingly prohibitive, they are becoming an even more important source of protein. The seeds are also a nutritional source of vitamin E, niacin, falacin, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron, riboflavin, thiamine and potassium.

It has also been found that a pound of groundnuts is high in food energy and provides approximately the same energy value as 2 pounds of beef, 1.5 pounds of Cheddar cheese, 9 pints of milk, or 36 medium-size eggs.


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