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Innovator improves upon rice reapers
08 | 11 | 2007
Once a farmer with a seventh-grade education, Nguyen Kim Chinh is now director of an enterprise selling improved rice reapers.

The idea of an improved reaper came upon him when he bought his first rice reaper, a FUTU 1. He hoped that this machine would enable his family to harvest their crops more easily. He was disappointed to find, however, that, "the machine could not operate well in our hometown’s rice paddies. It stalled in the flooded fields and was unable to run at night. Yet I couldn’t let it go to waste because I bought it with all my savings," Chinh said.

With a strong determination, Chinh buckled down to improve the existing rice reaper. His new machine would work well on any terrain, 24 hours a day.

For him, the biggest drawback of existing machines was the fact that rice stalks would often jam the motor, stopping the reaper in its tracks. The results was lower productivity and frequent time- and labour-consuming episodes. How to adapt these machines to practical conditions tormented his thoughts, said Chinh. .

After three years, Nguyen Kim Chinh found a solution to the problem: placing a pinion and chain under the cutter. This system helps prevent rice stalks from clogging the machine and thus remedying the biggest problem with the FUTU-type reapers.

Based on his initial success, Chinh eagerly moved on to other improvements. After eight years of research and experimentation, he finally modified the reaper to his satisfaction. "Only the FUTU frame remained. The rest was replaced and improved to adapt to the paddy fields in my hometown," Chinh said.

From a mono-functional reaper and recycled motorbike parts, Chinh has successfully designed a multi-functional one which generates higher yields and is easy to handle. The rice reaper not only moves from field to field easily but is able to work at night thanks to a headlight system.

"I have modified 30 rice reapers at a cost of VND18.5 million (US$120) each, VND4 million(US$25) above the cost of a normal reaper. But their efficiency is much greater."

While a normal reaper requires two operators for a 2,000 square metre field, the improved reapers need only one handler for 3,000 square metres. The newly-invented reapers not only help farmers get more income through higher productivity but also resolve the pressing shortage of labour during harvest time.

Chinh’s reputation has spread quickly. Farmers from many provinces have come and bought his reapers. He himself received several awards for his creativity in reaper improvement. In September 2007, the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Association certified his product as "Exemplary Vietnamese Creativity".

Not satisfied with those achievements, Chinh’s dream is to make his reapers accessible to as many farmers as possible. This actually came true when he set up his own company to sell his rice reapers. Not only farmers but even a Cambodian enterprise knew his fame and offered him regular orders

Source: VNS
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