Thursday, November 11, 2010

Agricultural Revolution in a Nutshell

Jock Brandis, Director of Research and Development at The Full Belly Project, made a promise to women in Mali which turned him into a social entrepreneur. It was a simple promise; one he thought would be easy to keep. He saw that the women had to shell their peanut crop by hand, a tedious and painful task. He promised to send them a peanut sheller. As it turns out, a small-scale peanut sheller did not exist.

In order to keep his promise, Brandis decided to build his own. Universal Peanut Shellers are now in 17 countries. This invention has helped improve the quality of life and incomes of many villagers. He does not give them away – he believes that development comes through investment. He sells the design of his peanut sheller for $28 apiece, and the farmers put it together themselves. Brandis uses development workers who are already over there to make sure everything works according to plan. This lack of overseas infrastructure saves the organization from wasting money which is better used on more inventions.

-Corey Cox and Kelli Hanson