Standard Metal Work Garage, a Ganta-based company that designs and builds processing machines for farmers, has released a new, motorized mill for processing farm produce into powder.
Amos Gbatu, Chief Executive Officer of the garage, calls it the “Hammer Mill”.
“This one machine can make powder of all kinds of tubers and nuts that can be dried for food or medicine,” Gbatu told the Daily Observer at his workshop in Ganta.
He said dried plantain, cassava, eddoes, corn, wollor, and pepper are powdered using this new model. Although the Hammer Mill is not made for processing rice, Gbatu says it can process dried food leaves into powder, such as cassava leaf, potato greens and others alike.
Without the mechanized process, powdering these food items often involves a time and energy-consuming process of sun-drying, followed by pounding in a mortar and then sifting, before the finer powder product is achieved.
Mr. Gbatu’s first batch of Hammer Mills is already sold out. At the price tag of US$800 each, he said as long as people have been making powder from locally produced food, they will be glad to see a machine that can enhance their efforts.
According to him, ACDI VOCA has bought all the Hammer Mills recently produced.
Many farmers in Bong, Nimba and neighboring Guinea have built relationships with him, noting that most of them have the capacity to purchase the machines to add more value to their locally produced commodities.
In addition to the Hammer Mill, Mr. Gbatu said his garage has also produced a rice-threshing machine, which removes the seed rice from the stalk and makes it ready for planting or further processing at a rice mill for consumption.
Traditionally, farmers thresh harvested rice using their bare feet to seperate the seeds from the stalks. Alternatively, they use harvesting knives to strip the seeds from the stalks.
Gbatu has other machines made by his company to produce gari, palm oil and kernel oil.
Kernel oil, Mr. Gbatu noted, is very useful for soap making, which according to him is in demand due the flow of so many soap makers in Liberia.