16 Harvesting Labour Requirements

Implemented by: Flemming Nielsen (FACT/Banana hill) (2009)

Main findings:
  • Farmers can harvest 1-3 kg/h including decortication

  • Farmers can harvest at least 5 kg/h excluding decortication


Three tests of harvesting rates were carried out; Two at Primero de Maio and one at Metambo.

  1. The first tests consisted of two farmers of about 25 and 45 years of age harvesting Jatropha for fifteen minutes from a two year old hedge with moderate fruit bearing. The fruits were decorticated on the go and a total of 1.5 kg wet seeds were ready in 15 minutes. It is equivalent to 3 kg/h per person. The farmers said that the speed of picking was slightly higher than what they usually do.

  2. The second test included the same two persons as the first test. They spent 14 minutes picking Jatropha from one hedge. Decortification was done afterwards and took 26 minutes. The total harvesting time of 40 minutes resulted in 2.46 kg wet seeds. It is equivalent to 1.8 kg/h per person. Without the decortication 5.3 kg/h per person were harvested.

  3. The third test included two women of around 25 years of age. They harvested Jatropha for 12 minutes and spent 46 minutes decorticating the 2 kg. About 70% of the fruits were black while 30% were yellow. The picking rate including decortication is 1 kg/h per person. Without decortication it is 5 kg/h per person.

The farmers said that they usually pick the fruits first and decortify when they are anyhow sitting together.

To summarise the findings:

  • Farmers can harvest 1-3 kg/h including decortication

  • Farmers can harvest at least 5 kg/h excluding decortication

These figures are at the low end of figures from the literature. A reason may be that the hedges are young and have relatively few fruits and that the poor pruning practise makes it difficult to reach fruits on long branches.

Considering that the major time spend on harvesting the seeds is for decortication we should look into the feasibility of simple mechanical decortifiers. It could make Jatropha more attractive/beneficial to the farmers. This is particularly important because of the time of the labour peaks as discussed later in this document.

SelectionFile type iconFile nameDescriptionSizeRevisionTimeUser
Comments