The African thresher, known as ASI, can process 6 tonnes of rice per day. This same output would require 36 manual labourers using traditional methods, usually women. In addition, ASI cleanly separates 99% of the grains, resulting in a better quality product. Within 90 days of use, the economic benefits more than double the USD 5,000 cost of purchasing the technology. The ASI saves as much as one third of the rice harvest from being lost. In effect, this boosts the yield of usable rice by 50%. At the same time, net greenhouse gases are reduced when post-harvest losses are reduced. Reduced losses, like reduced consumption, ease the demands on the production system. This cuts net greenhouse gases by requiring less energy and fertilizer per kilogram of rice delivered to the consumer. Projects that target post-harvest losses like this are key to securing the food supply under a changing climate. ASI machines now thresh over half of Senegal’s rice and are spreading across West and Central Africa, with each country testing and adapting the thresher to suit the local context (Africa Rice Center 2005; 1 Mohapatra 2012 2).
Africa Rice Center. 2005. How partnership built ASI and ISA. Annual Report 2004–2005. Cotonou, Benin: AfricaRice.http://www.warda.cgiar.org/publications/AR2004-05/ASI.pdf This feature story from the 2004-5 Africa Rice Center Annual Report covers the emergence of the ASI (ADRAO-SAED-ISRA) rice thresher, which is able to significantly reduce postharvest losses, while reducing the burden of hard manual labor.
Mohapatra S. 2012. The little machine that could. Rice Today. Cotonou, Banin: AfricaRice.http://www.africarice.org/publications/ricetoday/The_little_machine_that_could.pdf This article explains the history of the Asian rice thresher, which provides farmers with an efficient alternative to manual threshing. The thresher is named the ASI, after the three main partners who contributed to its development: AfricaRice, the Senegal River Valley National Development Agency and the Senegalese Institute of Agricultural Research. The ASI has been one of the most important postharvest technologies in the Senegal River Valley, helping rice farmers to deal with labor scarcity.