The Manual Precision Seed Planter and Fertilizer is a hand/foot-powered planter designed for use by women practicing Conservation Agriculture. The planter is able to plant maize seeds and precise quantities of fertilizer through surface mulch in all soil types and conditions.
The design of the tool uses body weight to operate a foot pedal in order to supply the energy needed to create two slots through the Earth's surface layer in a gradual manner, combined with a forward/backward rocking motion. Precise quantities of seed and fertilizer are dropped by hand into two funnels, which deposit the seeds into two separate holes in the soil. The resulting precision of seed and fertilizer placement requires about half the normal recommended quantities of seed and fertilizer to be used, allowing for considerable economic savings for smallholder farmers.
This development was initiated by observing the poor performance of other Conservation Agriculture planting tools that averaged $80 USD in cost. In comparison, the Manual Precision Seed planter can be manufactured locally by metal workers for roughly $15 USD.
Crop yields are diminishing in Sub Saharan Africa due to excessive cultivation, reduced organic content of soil and desertification. When combined with crop rotation, Conservation Agriculture techniques are proven to reverse these trends by minimizing soil disturbance and maintaining an organic surface layer.
Planting seeds and fertilizer through this organic surface layer is a challenge among small-scale farmers. The hand/foot planter was designed to help women farmers overcome this challenge. Among other benefits, the planter:
Enables farmers to practice Conservation Agriculture
Increases crop production (especially for maize) at affordable costs and with less energy required
Creates rural employment opportunities.
Publicly available: yes
Countries where available: Worldwide
Price range (USD): 1 to 20 USD
Offered or can be licensed for local manufacture: Yes