Improving Mechanization for African Smallholder Farmers: A SIL Webinar Series

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The low level of mechanization in many areas of Africa can be a major impediment to increasing agricultural production. Imported equipment is often expensive, difficult to source and not easily repairable. One way to prevent “equipment graveyards” is to support local manufacturing and repair of agricultural equipment.  For local manufacturing to be successful both high quality designs and production materials must be available. Manufacturers face difficulties in keeping production costs affordable in areas where demand is low due to low farm income.

Several organizations are working to improve access to agricultural mechanization in Africa with post-harvest technologies such as mechanical threshers. Two leaders in sub-Saharan Africa include the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Compatible Technology International (CTI).

IITA and CTI will present the kick-off webinar on May 3, 2017 in the Improving Mechanization for African Smallholder Farmers Webinar Series hosted by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Soybean Value Chain Research (Soybean Innovation Lab, "SIL").

IITA established a Postharvest Engineering Unit in the late 1980s and has been involved in a large number of time and labor saving technological developments over the past few decades, including the development of a multi-crop thresher in the early 1990s. An IITA team led by Peter Kolawole will discuss their work in the webinar.

CTI is a nonprofit organization based in Minnesota that specializes in postharvest technology solutions for smallholders in Africa so they can produce food more sustainably and bring their crops to market.  Executive Director Alexandra Spieldoch will present their work in Senegal developing and commercializing a pearl millet thresher and promoting fee-for-service use of the technology.

Webinar speakers include: 

Peter Kolawole
Post Harvest Specialist
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture

Alexandra Spieldoch
Executive Director
Compatible Technology International 

Kerry Clark
Soybean Innovation Lab Researcher
Soybean Innovation Lab