The peanut (or groundnut as it is called in West Africa) is an important subsistence crop to hundreds of millions of people across the world. Not only is it important nutritionally, as it provides a convenient source of protein and 30 essential nutrients, but it is also an important source of income for these communities. Often referred to as a "women's crop" in Africa, women traditionally grow, harvest and shell them to supplement their families' diets, but also as a product to bring to market.
Shelling by hand is both time consuming and painful, often leaving open wounds on the sheller's hands. The Universal Nut Sheller makes it possible for these women to not only save time and discomfort, but it also increases their nutrition source and income. This increase in income is especially useful for women as it allows them to pay children's school fees, etc.
However, the bigger picture is that this increase in both nutrition and income empowers women in these communities by encouraging better health and economic independence.
The Universal Nut Sheller is our first product and the reason Full Belly was founded.
It is a simple device that can shell several types of nuts, including groundnuts, shea nuts, and coffee beans among others.
It works by turning the handle, which causes the inner concrete cone to rotate inside the outer cone. The nuts are poured into the top, and the friction of the cones causes the shell to separate form the nut.
It takes 5 people 50 hours to shell a 100 pound bag of peanuts.
The Universal Nut Sheller can do it in an hour.
Watch the video below from the 2008 BBC World Challenge to learn more!
In the Spring of 2011, Josh Litwin, a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali presented two Universal Nut Sheller units to the chief and the women's association in the village of Niagadina.
Two local women oversaw the machines and collected a small fee per container of nuts shelled.