Improvement of the Traditional Enset Decorticator in Ethiopia
AbstractWith the objective of improving the decortication of enset ((Enset ventricosum), which is the staple food of millions of Ethiopians, a simple and cost-effective tool was developed at the Agricultural Implements Research Center (AIRIC) in Ethiopia. The tool was compared with the traditional enset decorticator and the prototype developed by the rural technology centers and being disseminated through the regular extension program in the country. Results showed that both farmers and development agents in Yem district (where the new tool has been popularized vigorously by Winrock International and district office of agriculture staff) evaluated the traditional system of enset decortication as laborious and one that incurs the most product loss whereas the rural technology type was evaluated as heavy in weight, expensive and difficult to repair. The new decorticator (referred to as “MARC” in the text) on the other hand was evaluated as non-expensive, requires less time to decorticate, does not incur product loss and can be constructed by farmers, after little training, using locally available materials. It was reported that in less than 10 months after farmers were given training on the making of the decorticator up to 600 families had constructed and started using the MARC decorticator. The average decorticating efficiency was also ranked as MARC > rural technology model > traditional. It was also calculated that the MARC decorticator benefits the farmer by 14, 656 Birr per hectare over the traditional decorticator. Based on the encouraging results, it is recommended that large-scale demonstration and popularization and training on the making of the new device be carried out for farmers in the rest of enset growing areas in Ethiopia.
Key words: Appropriate technology, enset, decorticator, food processing, false banana
Eastern African Journal of Rural Development Vol.20(1) 2004: 81-93