A simple and cost-effective machine that makes it easier to plant sesame seeds.

 

This photo gallery shows how a simple grassroots innovation is aiding Tanzanian sesame farmers improve production.

Simple innovation changing farmers’ fortunes

by Baraka Rateng’

Smallholder farmers in Tanzania are increasingly taking to sesame farming because of its drought resistant qualities. It is more resilient climate change related impacts.

Constantine Martin, a primary school leaver, who hails from Babati District in northern Tanzania has invented a simple and cost-effective machine that makes it easier to plant sesame seeds.

Martin, 42, began developing his invention after receiving training in modern sesame farming by a London-based international development charity, Farm Africa, which helps farmers grow more, sell more and sell for more.

The hand-pushed planting machine dubbed ‘Coasta Planter’ makes the planting sesame seeds easier and upscale production.

Sesame farming in Tanzania has traditionally been by hand, a tough, tedious and time consuming work where farmers dig individual holes a few centimetres deep for each seed, then go back and forth along their plots dropping seeds.  It also causes back pain.

He saw this gap and developed the technology now being adopted by many farmers.

Martin says: “Sesame is a drought-resistant crop and many farmers were encouraged to get into this kind of farming but the challenge was on how to plant the sesame seeds, which are very small.”

“I used to farm sesame using outdated farming practices, which didn’t transform my income and livelihood. Planting was [a] tedious job as my wife and I had to go back and forth in our five acre plot, which meant we had to walk more than 20km,” adds Martin who is a member of one of Farm Africa’s co-operatives that brings members together to negotiate better prices for their crops, and gain access to improved seed varieties, inputs and training.

Read the full story: SciDevNet

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.