Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Timor Corn Husker

What these? a new fishing hook? No! Corn huskers ofcourse.

Have you ever needed to husk corn by hand? In the good old days, when farmers were heroes, they moved down the rows of corn, opened up the sheath (those leaves around the cob) and picked out the cob and threw it into a cart pulled along by a horse. There were a number of different tools to help farmers open the sheath and some of them were strapped to the wrist. The typical husker is made of a leather strap and tough sheet metal. We don't have that sort of raw material and skills here so I've fashioned a simple hook made of 5mm reo bar which is very common here. 
The trick is in the bending to get it to fit right. 

Then we made a simple cloth strap with velcro at the end (because we could, you could just tie it, buckle or whatever).

After a couple of turns the hook is placed on the wrist, the strap is wrapped around 3-4 times after this to hold it on well.


The fine women at Bele Kria cutting and sewing up 150 straps for corn huskers.

 Thanks to Seeds of Life, they bought 150 of these and yesterday we handed them out to lead farmers of commercial seed producing associations. We are hoping they can test them on farm and give us feedback if they work on not.
The idea for the hook came from testing last year with Lino, the corn farmer. He said that when they looked at my prototype last year (it didn't work) they decided they'd take the concept but just take a nail into the field. Then we tried bending a long nail but switched to reo for length and ease of bending. In fact coming up with new ideas takes about 3 years - 1st year to identify the problem, 2nd year testing prototypes, 3rd year delivering the final concept. Now I realise it probably takes another 3 years to scale up and get into the market place.

O, and farmers are still my heroes, its a tough game out there in the paddock especially during El Nino on the western side of the Pacific. Next time you eat, thank God for the farmers who grew your food.

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