Multi-Crop Thresher

The Multi-Crop Thresher (MCT) is an agricultural product that can thresh various types of crops in just one machine. These crops include maize, sorghum, barley, and rice. The Thresher aims to improve quality of life, strengthen value chains, and contribute to food security. This is done by producing a cleaner agricultural product that can be used more efficiently reducing the amount of hard labor.

Designed for portability in the field and around rural settings, it is equipped with two wheels. It also has an indented seat so that it easily fits onto the back of a motorcycle rack, the preferred way of travel for many people in village areas. Aimed at farmers, this machine has the capacity to thresh different crops allowing the farmer improved flexibility, and saving a great deal of time and labor.

The Multi-Crop Thresher is a throw-in type thresher. This means that crops are fed into the machine from the top. Once they enter the threshing chamber, a rotating drum beats the grains off of the stalks. Large chaff passes through to the exit of the chamber and expelled from the machine, while threshed grain falls through a sieve-like structure called a concave. A fan blows dust and small chaff from the threshed grain, which then leaves the machine through an exit chute to be collected in bags.

Agriculture accounts for over a quarter of the gross domestic product in Tanzania but many farmers are still dependent on traditional farming methods. Activities such as threshing are time-consuming and laborious: On average it can take up to three hours of hitting bundles of rice against a rock to produce 100 kg of threshed rice, and three hours of beating dried maize with a stick to produce 100 kg of shelled maize. Farmers could spend this time and energy more productively elsewhere.

Although mechanized threshers drastically reduce the time spent threshing, they are conventionally expensive, bulky and not very user-friendly. The company has worked closely with Tanzanian smallholder farmers to design a context-appropriate multi-crop thresher (MCT) that provides the benefits of mechanized threshing while addressing its common drawbacks.

Use of this Thresher also aims to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in modern agricultural services by creating a technological alternative to traditional post-harvest processing. Additional benefits can include increased incomes, and time for other productive activities. This will more often than not impact women, who are commonly responsible for post-harvest processing, as well as men seeking employment in modernized agricultural services. In all target groups include small farming households, women on small land-holder farms and entrepreneurs.

The Multi-Crop Thresher will be produced at several workshop locations in Tanzania. It is easy-to-maintain and can be built with locally-sourced parts meaning that users can easily repair or replace them. It is foreseen that the most common modes of failure can be repaired by local technicians.

In addition to producing MCTs, the workshops will also act as service centers for machine repairs, showrooms, office space and storage areas.

The company aims to make business-to-business sales to partner organizations specializing in last-mile distribution and sales in rural areas. The product is also aimed at entrepreneurs as an additional source of income: The MCT has high earning potential when used in a business: farmers typical pay 50 cents per 100 kg sack of threshed maize, and since the MCT can thresh up to 200 sacks of maize in an eight-hour day, the MCT can potentially bring in up to 100 USD of revenue per day during the harvest season. The company anticipates that this will be a relatively safe and attractive investment opportunity for entrepreneurs, and therefore have a higher likelihood of positively impacting farmers.

37 million Tanzanians live in rural areas and the company estimates that a potential of 1 in 300 people in rural areas are possible customers, creating a potential market size of 120,000 customers.

The products costs are 500 USD and the product is to be sold at approx. 700 USD. Although not financially affordable for everyone, there are people could buy and then offer the product as an affordable service to the rest of their community. The company further wishes to offer product loans.

Requirements:

  • Production center (land, large open building, small office space)
  • Fabrication equipment (welding machine, hand tools, drill press, lathe)
  • Materials (sheet metal, mild steel, nuts/bolts, welding rods, PPE)
  • Transportation (vehicle, money to pay distributer)
  • Overhead (salaries, electricity, water, etc.)
  • Business Registration in Tanzania

Key Facts

Website: https://d-lab.mit.edu/scale-ups/mechanized-multicrop-thresher
Contact: Elliot Avila
Email: Avila.Elliot@gmail.com
Used in: Tanzania

Category

Food & Agriculture

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