Groundnuts rank second to beans in legumes grown in Uganda and shelling them at both household level and for small-scale commercial farmers often requires them to take the products at a nearby shelling machine in the community, which is usually a few kilometres from their location.
Groundnut shelling for many smallholder farmers in Uganda is largely done by hand, which is labour-intensive, not to mention the low productivity of only a few kilogrammes after long hours of shelling. However, the hand operated wooden groundnut sheller is one machine that can help such farmers. The device is simple, efficient, low-cost and easy to operate.
The wooden groundnut sheller is a simple technology, manual rectangular device, with a semi-circular central area under laid with a metallic hollow plate where the shelling takes place. Above it is a movable sheller (lever) slightly suspended in air by hinges on either side, the movement of which shells the groundnuts.
To shell groundnuts, a farmer is advised to lift the movable sheller (lever) to one side to create an opening from where the groundnuts can be poured inside the central circular shelling area. Before one starts shelling, a farmer must lay a tarpaulin on the ground and under the device to collect both the shelled nuts and the shells. To shell effectively, two people are needed to move the shelling lever from side to side standing on either side of the machine.
As one moves this, the groundnuts are shelled, and they fall through the metallic hallow metal down to the tarpaulin where they are collected for winnowing.
The machine is easy to operate, it is not labour intensive and is cost effective, sold at Shs400,000 at Sasakawa Global 2000.
There is minimal wear and tear and breakage of the machine. The wooden device can be operated by people of different age groups, with little difficulty. It is also manually operated, hence no fuel or power expenses required. The machine doesn’t consume a lot of space, since it is moderately small.
In cases where a farmer has to shell large amounts of groundnuts, the machine can be exhausting due to the energy needed to operate it during the shelling process.
It is also hard to be operated by just one person, since two people are supposed to swing the shelling lever from side to side from either side of the machine.
It is possible for some parts of the groundnuts not to be shelled, if it just goes through the holes of the metallic plate without being cracked.