International Studies & Programs

Human-Powered Bean Thresher for Small-Scale Legume Production

This GCFSI-funded project will work with women in rural Zambia to develop a low-cost, bicycle-based, human-powered thresher that can process common beans four times faster than the current manual threshing process.


Project Team: Ronald C. Averill and James D. Kelly, Michigan State University

While technology and mechanized innovation are driving advancements and developments of the modern world, the foundation of mechanization is still being established in Sub-Saharan Africa. Low-cost, appropriate technology machines can act as an interim step on the way to improved agricultural production, which then leads to improved food security. In addition, when the technology is designed in cooperation with female heads of household who are responsible for grain processing, then a human-powered bean thresher can become an instrument that brings positive change to women’s lives. This GCFSI-funded project will work with women in rural Zambia to develop a low-cost, bicycle-based, human-powered thresher that can process common beans four times faster than the current manual threshing process.