Peanuts or groundnuts are a high value
crop that can be marketed with little
processing but are extremely versatile
and can be used in a wide range of
products. The oil can be used for
cooking, they can be used as a
shortening or as a base for
confectioneries and they can be used to
make peanut butter.
There are two types of groundnut, a
bush and a runner. Hybrids of the two
varieties have been developed and are
commercially available. The pods of the
bush variety contain one or two kernels
in a thin shell. The runner variety has
one to three kernels in a thicker shelled
Figure 1: Peanut butter production, Fadzavanhu
Enterprises, Zimbabwe established by four
housewives. One of them, Memory, is pictured
here seen with samples of the final product.
Credit: Practical Action
pod. Irrigation techniques consisting of
regular watering up to ripening stage
and then reduced to avoid wrinkling. Nitrogen fixing nodules are found on the roots although
nitrogen and potassium fertilisers are often added to the soil to improve yields.
The groundnut plants are annually harvested by being pulled or dug up. This is usually called
‘lifting’. There are various designs of equipment available to assist in lifting groundnuts. The
Industrial Development Centre (IDC) originally developed a groundnut lifter at Maidururi for the
savannah area of Northern Nigeria and later adapted for local manufacture for the ITDG (now
called Practical Action) project in Magoye in Zambia.
The lDC lifter is an attachment for an EMCOT plough. It is pulled by a draft animal, with two
depth wheels and a plough-like bar for lifting up the groundnuts. The Practical Action groundnut
lifter is a complete piece of equipment in itself. "A lightweight lifter suitable for groundnuts
grown on 75 cm spaced ridges in sandy soils. Suitable for manufacture by village blacksmiths."
The minimum equipment required would be a forge, anvil, hammer, tongs, chisel, and punch.
This is the process of removing groundnuts in-shell from the haulm after lifting and, usually,
drying. This is normally done by hand and is a tedious and time consuming operation. The pods
are removed by picking or flailing.
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