This GCFSI student innovation grant project aims to save Tanzanian farmers money and time working in fields by introducing a maize planter/ripper, a low-cost alternative to the ox plow.
Project Lead: Salim Msury
A team of three mechanical engineering students from Arusha Technical College in Tanzania are looking to implement a new innovation that will save area farmers money and time working in fields. The maize planter/ripper is seen as a relatively simple and easy switch from the current tool—the ox plow.
First, the team will need to train farmers, and their oxen, to use the maize plater/ripper until they are comfortable with the equipment. (Since oxen are a common part of most farms in Tanzania, the team chose to use them to power the tool over a fuel source.) Then the farmers will take turns using it to rip and plant an acre of their land, ultimately comparing the effectiveness of the old and new methods.
Currently, the most commonly used ox-plow in Tanzania is sold for about $70, which also requires labor costs of $5/day to operate, usually at a pace of six hours per acre. The maize planter/ripper combines the process of ripping and planting process, which shaves hours off of a farmer’s workday.
The team will continually evaluate the maize planter/ripper and allow for changes in design along the way. The team will work with Arusha Technical College; Twende—Accelerating Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (AISE); the East African Impact Center (ECHO); and local smallholder farmers to create the ideal maize planter/ripper for Tanzania. These different prototypes will be tested at different seasons in the year, and for different types of crops.