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July 23, 2007

Foot-driven rice thresher developed in Uganda

Researchers at Uganda's National Agricultural Research Laboratory Institute (NARLI) have developed a pedalled rice wheat thresher to ease post-harvest losses.

The pruned cereals are fed into a thresh compartment with sharp fins. A clean material, say polythene paper, is placed beneath the thresher to collect the grains. The farmer can then carry home clean grain.

"It can thresh up to 300kg of rice per hour," says Cedric Mutyaba, a research officer. Farmers can use the husks as mulch, Mutyaba advises."This not only increases soil fertility, but also fights soil erosion."

Mutyaba says most farmers sun-dry their grain in their compounds, exposing it to dust. This reduces the quality and also causes moulding. To preserve quality, he advises farmers to use polythene bags to dry the grains.

"We have set the price at sh400,000 ($240) per thresher," Mutyaba says. "There is already high demand for it."

There is also a motorised thresher that can thresh up to one tonne in an hour. Mutyaba says this is suitable for groups. "It costs sh1.6m ($950) and is diesel-run."

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