- A maize thresher helps small-scale farmers to save time and high costs that come with using hands, writes Desire Mbabaali.
Shelling corns off the cob manually is both tedious and requires much labour. On the other hand, selling dry maize cobs leads to low income as the farmer is cheated due to low value addition and the cobs takes up much storage space due to their bulk.
However, there is an ideal machine for small scale commercial farmers, which is both easy to use and affordable. The machine is a hand operated maize thresher with a weight of about 15 kilogrammes.
With a cup-like hollow opening where the cob is placed to be worked upon, the machine has a wheel that is hand driven using a handle to move the small gears below the hollow opening that remove seeds off the cob.
How it works
To operate it, the cob is placed inside the hollow opening and as one peddles the wheel using their hand, the corn is removed as they fall off the ground below the machine. Before operating, check the secure and flexibility of fasteners. And in order to improve the threshing rate, adjust the spring and press the screw to the suitable degree; not too loose, and not too tight. Place the machine on a well levelled ground to prevent it from moving.
It is also better to thresh dry corn because it is easily removable from the cob and when threshing, hold the cranking bar with your left hand, put the corn heads into the machine’s mouth/ hollow opening and press it lightly or with a little more pressure to thresh clean as you peddle the wheel using your right hand. The machine also has a seating space from which the operator can comfortably work it. On top of its portability, the machine totally depends on manual operation and thus requires
no fuel or electricity making it ideal for farmers in rural areas where those sources of energy might be a challenge.
However, this is a challenge in itself since one will require a lot of energy to operate the machine themselves, and thus the output and speed within which the threshing takes place depends on how energetic and quick the operator is. Nonetheless, it goes without saying that one needs about three rounds of the hand driven wheel to thresh a single maize cob.
The machines go for between Shs2m and Shs5m depending on the speed and capacity. “One of the three machines we have can shell a bag in 10 minutes, another one in five minutes and this one in two minutes. We also have a sorghum thresher as well,” says Apuuli Atugonza a farmer in Pakanyi Sub-county, Masindi District.
Atugonza bought his machines in Kampala in 2016. He says production has since improved since he bought the machines. “The maize thresher is a useful tool to both small-scale and large-scale farmers. It is portable, easy to operate and maintain, making it affordable for the small farmer,” he said.
To ensure that your local maize thresher has good working condition and long service life, maintain the machine as follows:
Fill lubrication oil on time for each part of oiling device. Maintain the machine once for each 90 hours of working. Check whether each connection part is loose and fasten it in time. Shut the machine down immediately in case of the following problems and find out the cause. Do not start to work until problems are solved. Put the thresher in the rain-proof room when not in use.