Performance Evaluation of Selected Cassava Roots Harvesters
The mechanization of cassava uprooting process on large expanse of cassava plantation is an important and urgent need to resolve the present plights of peasant farmers in tropics. These farmers employ the manual uprooting methods of the roots of this crop and it is quite an extremely difficult task most especially during the dry season when the soil crust is very hard. Most peasant farmers who employ this method and are at their old age are subjected
to acute back pain due to accumulated stress on the back muscle over their productive years. The advanced methods of uprooting which are attachments to farm tractor are beyond the reach of this poor farmers. These low scale farmers are the major producers of the crop and they need a better, gender friendly uprooting device that would reduce the accumulation of a stressed life emanating in the uprooting process. A strategic approach of a three-year plan of developing a better method of uprooting the cassava roots were embarked upon sequentially by three different members of this research group to advance the development of the uprooting device. In the plan that was executed in this order machine design, refinements, modifications, evaluations and machine final design and adjustment were embarked upon over these periods. In the end a feasible design from faults of preceding year design were corrected and tested to obtain the best uprooting method. Out of the three investigated designs of hydraulic arm uprooting device, pillar arm uprooting device and lever hoist uprooting device, the later was found favorable and most effective for the uprooting of cassava roots. This assessment was based on the energy input of 24.03 kJ
and output performance 19.19 kJ which was lower and of better performance than the other two methods. With a little further modification, this unit, the lever hoist uprooting device would be a handy tool for cassava harvest for peasant farmers all over the globe at a very affordable price not beyond the income of these farmers. This unit would also remove all forms of stress attributed to the uprooting process.
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