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Business News of Thursday, 30 June 2016


Artisans trained in cassava harvester production

The Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Institute (CSRI) has successfully trained a number of artisans in the country in the production of a manual cassava harvester.

Artisans in the Volta Region are the latest group to be trained in the manufacture of the equipment. More than 200 artisans from parts of the Ashanti and Western regions have already been trained.

The 20 artisans from the Zowfa Wielding and Fabrication Workshop, based in Akatsi in the Ketu South District, were taken through the basic rudiments on ways of manufacturing the harvester, which is intended to ease pressure in cassava harvesting.

The inventor of the product, Mr Shadrack Kwadwo Amponsah, in partnership with the Brazilian Agric Research Corporation, financiers of the invention, is training artisans across the country.

The equipment was perfected after a four-year research undertaken by Mr Kwadwo Amponsah, a staff of the CRI, as part of his Master’s degree programme at the Agricultural Engineering Department of the College of Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

A first attempt at producing a cassava harvester by the International Institute of Agriculture in Ibadan, Nigeria, was unsuccessful until the Ghanaian scientist came up with the invention.

The team leader of the trained artisans in the Volta Region, Mr David Zodanu, expressed appreciation to CSIR for empowering them and creating an opportunity for them to become resourceful.

The tool operates on two principles—‘grip and lift’ and ‘dig and lift’. It consists of a frame to which an immovable griping jaw is attached and a chiselled tip that serves as the base for lifting cassava from the soil is attached.

The ‘grip and lift’ principle works invariably well in hard and dry soils where due to the tendency of high root tuber breakage the chisel-like tip comes handy as it is able to dig out the tubers with ease.