Testing Scythe in Mesga14 East – Kassala Block, Gash Agricultural Scheme During Sorghum Harvesting Season

Background
The IFAD funded project “Africa to Asia and Back Again: Testing Adaptation in Flood-Based Resource Management Project” is implemented in Sudan by the Hydraulics Research Center (HRC-Sudan) over the period 2015-2018 in collaboration with MetaMeta Research – The Netherlands. In line with the efforts to engage farmers in spate systems in the project activities and to introduce simplified agricultural tools/techniques to them for various purposes, HRC-Sudan has tested two Scythes which were received from Centre for Environment Concerns to be used in crops harvesting.

Current practice in Gash Agricultural Scheme (GAS)
Within the spate irrigation projects, HRC-Sudan has carried out considerable number of researches. In the seasons 2015 and 2017, HRC-Sudan has conducted an experimental research work in (3) pilot farms in GAS and WUAs/farmers were major partners. Also, it was good opportunity to introduce the Scythe to GAS farmers who plant Sorghum as a main crop. They usually use manual tools (Axe) for Sorghum harvesting. These tools are locally known as “Kadankat”.

Testing Scythe
On the 6th of December 2017, the Scythe has been tested in Mesga14 East (420 ha), which is located in Kassala Block in Gash Agricultural Scheme.
Testing of the tool was carried out in the presence of farmers and representatives of Water User Associations (WUAs) leaders in Mesga14 East. Total number of attendees reached 12. Their names are as follow:
1. Ali Mohamed Esaa (WUA Leader – Mesga 14E)
2. Mustafa Mahjoub (WUA – Mesga 14E)
3. Hadab Haikal (Sheikh Mesga, Field Leader)
4. Ohaj Osman Esaa (Farmer)
5. Mohamed Mustafa Ustah (Farmer)
6. Ibrahim Ahmed Ali (Farmer)
7. Abdul Rahim Mustafa (Farmer)
8. Adam Hadab (Farmer)
9. Seednah Okair (Farmer)
10. Ohaj Hadab (Farmer)
11. Ibrahim Abu Amna Ahmed (Farmer)
12. Ibrahim Saeed (Farmer)
This was carried out under supervision of HRC-Sudan research team who has also documented this work in a short video.

Feedback of farmers
Farmers were very interesting to test Scythe in their fields. During the experiment, it was observed that the scythe was designed conveniently for farmers who bend their backs for a long time to harvest. However, the Scythe mechanism is not suitable to cut biomass easily especially with a heavy biomass such as Sorghum which reaches two meters long and more at harvesting stage.
Farmers are keen to provide them with modified harvesting tools considering some suggestions as follow:
• The tested Scythe works better with light biomass such as Wheat and Sesame, hence for Sorghum a strong handle and sharpened blade are recommended
• Scythe can be modified in such a way that it works by pushing mechanism instead of pulling biomass so that farmers can work more effectively

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