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Universal Nut Sheller Answered

Today's feature is the awesome Universal Nut Sheller.

Designed by Jock Brandis of the Full Belly Project for a women's coop in Mali, this tool dramatically increases peanut-shelling speed from 2 lbs per hour (hand-shelling) to 110 lbs per hour.  Since roughly half a billion people in the world rely on peanuts as a primary protein source, this nut sheller has the potential for serious impact.

The machine is simple to make, relatively inexpensive, and can shell pecans, pine nuts, neem nuts, shea netus, Jatropha, and other nuts as well as peanuts.  Molds and metal parts can be ordered from the Full Belly Project.

Check out the 2005 video introducing the machine to Uganda:

Check it out, and get inspired.  What can you do to help people in developing countries?  We need more ideas, the simpler the better.

This post has been sponsored by Pepsi. The Pepsi Refresh Project celebrates the people, businesses, and non-profits with ideas that will have a positive effect on our world.



8 years ago

Westerners dont do backbreaking work?

I beg to differ.

Do some factory work boy, pull some double shifts and you'll find some offense to what you said.

Who are you calling "boy"?


I think that this project, considering all aspects, is a good one we must remember to take into consideration the things that may be lost with the introduction of a "more efficient" technology.

One example here, at least from what one can glean from the video, is that using the old method the women gathered and socialized---"gossiped", sang songs, etc. The speed of the work using the mill and the desire to have a mill in one's own home will affect that.

Again, the mill is a good idea and on the whole a valuable addition to the women's lives. Let's just not get into the mindset that says that all increases in "efficiency" are great and don't come with a cost.

Just as one can overemphasize efficiency, it's also possible to romanticize back-breaking work.  In this case, there will likely be many other excuses to gather and socialize - just around a different activity, and with a full belly assured.

Nothing in the, what, half dozen sentences of my posting indicates any tendency to romanticize "back-backing work" or in the case if the women in the video finger-shredding.

Like most Westerners born in the latter part of the 20th century I have never experienced any truly back-breaking work and I hope to never do so. I also have no particular wish for anyone else on this planet to continue to experience such toil.

I am merely pointing out that throwing a "solution" at society and expecting there to be no negative effects on that society is short-sighted.

i think canida's point is that since the women can now shell 5400% more peanuts an hour, which will allow them MORE time to socialize and be with their families and friends.

i don't think the women CHOSE to use "peanut time" as social time, it's a function of the fact that they were all in the same place toiling their day away with mindless work. that's when you're FORCED to talk to the people next to you. it's much more enjoyable when you can shell all your peanuts for the day in the first few hours of the day and then spend the rest of your day doing (more or less) what you'd like to do

This is industrialisation. I work with someone (old) who has previously worked in a textile-mill - she said that due to the intense noise of the machines, the women used to chat in sign-language. And she couldn't believe the language they were using!


This is a good thing

It certainly is, and we need more.


8 years ago

I love it when simple, useful and efficient machines like this make it to developing countries.  Stepping stones to a better future.

Agreed - simple, useful, and efficient.  We need more of that in developed countries, too. ;)


8 years ago

i love the tone of the guy speaking in the video. He seems quite excited! :D

Sounds like it!  I'd imagine a 75x increase in efficiency would be pretty good.