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Searching for Best-Bet 2WT Seeding Technology

2WT seeding Technology

Lack of appropriate planting technologies in smallholder Conservation Agriculture systems has been cited as one of the bottlenecks in the successful adoption of Conservation Agriculture. Hand tools are drudgerous and inefficient while Draft Animal power is threatened by droughts, diseases and shortage of biomass. 4WT technologies have proved inappropriate for small and fragmented fields and are too costly for African smallholders. Consequently, planting operations remain largely hand-hoe based with its inherent low efficiency and drudgery.

In the recent past there has been a noticeable increase on the number of 2WT imported in East Africa region, mostly for use in transport services in the flower industry. 2WT have been used successfully in Asian countries such as BangladeshGongli Africa and planting maize in Laikipia 2014 where agriculture is characterized by small and fragmented fields such as exists in Sub-Sahara Africa. Moreover, several No-till planters adapted to 2WT have been developed and some are now commercially available. Borrowing from the successes of Asian countries, the Farm mechanization and Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification (FACASI) project is currently testing several planters adapted to 2WT with the aim of establishing best-bet(s) for adaptation to African conditions. Key considerations in choosing the planters were their ability to handle trash/mulch, adequate quality, feasible cost and commercial availability (or potential to be commercially available).

2BFG-100 planting maize in Bungoma.Test are being carried out in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. In Kenya up to six different planters are currently being tested at both on-station and on-farm under rain-fed maize/legume systems in two sites- Bungoma and Laikipia. The aim of the tests is to establish functionality, performance and economic viability of the different planters under different soils and biomass conditions. Successful best-bet(s) will be made available through innovative business models to effectively deliver mechanization to smallholder farmers. The business model(s) envisage strong private sector involvement.

The six planters include:

  1. 2BFG-100 - originating from China. The planter utilizes fluted roller seed and fertilizer meters and can be set for strip till.
  2. National Agro Zero till multi crop planter from India. This planter operates in conjunction with a rotorvator and can be set for strip till. It has inclined seed meters and fluted roller for fertilizer metering.
  3. Fitarelli 2-row direct seeder from Brazil. This planter is fitted with double disc furrow openers, horizontal plate seed meters and star-wheel fertilizers meters.
  4. Fitarelli 1-row direct seeder, also from Brazil, fitted with tine furrow opener, horizontal plate seed meter and star wheel fertilizer meter.
  5. Gongli Africa+. A tool bar based 2-row seeder using spoon type seed meters, fluted roller fertilizer meters and tined furrow openers.
  6. Morrison CA-seeder model 1000, a tined single-row seeder fitted with universal seed meters. The seeder is from USA.
Article by Joseph Mutua










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