Partner with Us as We Partner with Farmers
This photo shows a graduate student from the Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso in the West African country of Burkina Faso testing an oxen-pulled ripper, a tool also known as a chisel plow. This ripper plows a narrow line without disrupting the soil as much as a traditional plow. This ripper was made from rebar and scrap metal by local blacksmiths in collaboration with area farmers, Polytechnic University, Michigan State University, and technical experts from Tillers International. With the tool nearly perfected for the soil and climate of Bobo-Dioulasso, experiments began to determine ideal planting practices to maximize crop yields. Mechanizing the planting process also frees women and children from some of the most intense field work and allows them to focus their attention elsewhere. For example, Tillers International is leasing a few hectares of land from a farmer to conduct farming experiments, test tools, and work with local blacksmiths and artisans. A sixteen-year-old girl who lives on that farm was able to break away from planting and go to school because what was seen as “woman’s work” — bending over and planting seeds by hand — was being done by her older brothers and their oxen. The men of the farm, impressed by the planter we helped to create, suddenly thought it was fine for men to plant seeds so long as they used the ox-drawn planter. Thanks to the men using the planter, the girl was able to go to school. This is a real world example of what we do and why your support matters.