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Turning tractors into hoes

The design need

Peter Kariuku lives in Migori, a town in the west of Kenya with around 70,000 households. Like the vast majority of people in the town, Peter was a subsistence farmer. This meant that he worked on the land to provide for himself and his family.

Most farmers in Migori have a small area of land where they grow crops such as maize, potatoes, beans and groundnuts. Although they may try to grow some other fruit and vegetables for variety, these are rarely harvested in great quantities. The first priority for all farmers is to grow enough food to feed their families - it is only in good harvests that they have a surplus to sell. They use any money that they make from selling surplus produce to buy other items that the family needs, such as soap or cooking oil.

Farmers prepare their ground for planting between December and April each year, and at this time there is a particular demand for hoes to weed the soil. However, the only hoes available were expensive and not very durable. Peter Kariuku recognised this gap in the market and decided to design a hoe to meet local people's needs.

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Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

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