INNOVATION IN TANZANIA

Tanzania is active in using new technology as a result of the activities of the University of Dar es Salaam’s INSTITUTE OF PRODUCTION INNOVATION (IPI).

Tanzania’s sugar production from four large factories is not enough to satisfy local demand (current production is about a quarter of demand) and the factories need a large supply of sugar cane from near at hand to operate efficiently. But sugar-cane can be grown all over the country. IPI has therefore designed, manufactured and put into operation a couple of dozen small-scale crystalline sugar producing plants which are simple, easy to operate, affordable and can handle up to 15 tonnes of sugar-cane per day and produce up to about a ton of CRYSTALLINE SUGAR of good quality. This highly successful innovation won a national award (Tanzania Award for Scientific and Technological Achievement – TASTA) in 1991 and an international award (EEC-ACP Award for the Best innovation in 1989.

Sparked by the acute shortage of EDIBLE OIL in Tanzania during the late 1970’s, IPI developed and has successfully disseminated over a hundred sets of equipment for processing the oil on village level. A few of these have even penetrated the market in some other countries in the region. The original work was aimed at developing manually operated equipment for extracting edible oil from sunflower seeds to satisfy the needs of a typical Tanzanian village. This resulted in a set of equipment comprising a sunflower seed decorticator, winnower, roller/crusher, scorcher, manual scissor-jack type press and a boiling stand. The equipment is capable of producing 40kg of sunflower oil from 210kg, of sunflower seed during one shift. Subsequently, due to enquiries for similar equipment to process other oil seed crops like coconut, palm oil, groundnuts and simsim, development work was extended to include additional processing equipment like palm kernel nut cracker, palm kernel nut shredder, a palm fruit digester, palm oil clarification tank, copra chopper and copra shredder. Equipment designs in earlier years emphasized manual operation, but requests for power drivers equipment led to adaptations to run with electric motors and diesel engines, particularly for sunflower decorticators and winnowers and palm kernel nut crackers.

Another highly successful innovation, from which over fifty projects/groups have directly benefited so far, EQUIPMENT FOR PROCESSING ANIMAL FEED was initiated in 1986 when chicken feed was very scarce especially in Dar es Salaam. The equipment consists of a hammer type mill and a central augur type vertical mixer. The mill has a capacity of 1.5 tonnes per hour and the mixer is available in two sizes capable of mixing 0.6 and 1.2 tonnes of feed per batch in half an hour.

Practically everyone in Tanzania needs to be able to mill maize and IPI’S locally manufactured hullers and hammer mills have proved very popular indeed. Hundreds of units have so far been produced and are operational all over the country. They are superior in their performance, strength, reliability and also versatility.

Other technologies which IPI has worked on and is presently in the process of developing include ethanol distillation equipment, use of ethanol as a fuel for engines, water pumps including hydraulic rams, wind water pumping, solar energy, including water heating and refrigeration, and domestic coal stoves, to mention a few. Also included in the present focus of IPI developments are processes and equipment for small-scale mining and mineral processing, in particular gold and equipment related to the construction industry such as vibrating block making machines.
Cuthbert Kimambo

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