Thursday, July 16, 2015

Our First Customer

Good news, everyone!

We have officially received payment for the first of this summer’s round of maize shellers. Abdon, Rosy, and I took a second trip to Babati to demonstrate the machine for a group of MVIWATA members in the village of Galapo. After installing shellers on bicycles owned by two of the farmers there, we got to work on a big pile of dried maize.

The new design worked great, and I personally think it looks pretty slick. We’ve simplified the adapter that mounts to the sheller body on the bicycle and added some rigidity to ensure it stays locked in place during use.  Everyone who tried out the machine seemed to like it, and we met our first customer, Gaspar, there. He’s renting one sheller kit for one month. It looks like harvesting in Babati is still ramping up. Peak shelling time will probably land in mid-August, but we want to put these prototypes to work and get feedback as soon as possible. There was a pile of big tasty-looking maize drying outside the house where we held our demo, so there should definitely be enough for Gaspar to make good use of the machine. He plans to use it on his own maize first then make some money shelling other farmers’ crop. I’m excited to see how this plays out.

Here’s the maize sheller kit as it stands now:

-a rugged stand to keep the bicycle up (The stand that comes with the bicycles here won’t support someone pedaling, and very few of the bicycles we see still have their original stands.)
-2 spanners for maintenance
-crate for packaging and for holding maize cobs ready to be shelled
-shelf to put the crate in front of the handlebars, conveniently within reach of the operator


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