Project name: Farmer Participatory Rapid Prototyping via 3D Printing for Improved Labor Saving Innovations for Women Smallholders in Africa (3D4AgDev)
Institutions: Plant & AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC), National University of Ireland Galway
Description: The 3D4AgDev program harnesses user-driven innovation with women smallholder innovator groups to design, develop, and deploy labor-saving agri-tools for smallholder women. Using tool designs developed with innovator groups for high-labor tasks, prototypes of cultivation and post-harvest tools were made using 3D printing and welding and field tested by farmers to identify the tools with the best labor-saving effects. The most promising prototypes are re-tested in the field as cast iron production models. For scale-up, 3D4AgDev will transition to a profit-sharing social enterprise (with women smallholder innovator groups), focusing on labor productivity enhancing innovations.
The 3D4AgDev program’s empowerment strategy draws on elements of farmer participatory technology development, user-driven innovation, and social enterprise development so that women innovator groups are enabled to design, develop, deploy, and benefit from labor-saving tools tailored to their prioritized labor-saving needs.