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Heifer International Nepal / Blogs  / Electric Chaff Cutters: A Game Changer in Decreasing Workload and Increasing Efficiency

Electric Chaff Cutters: A Game Changer in Decreasing Workload and Increasing Efficiency

By Regeena Regmi

Photo for Reference: Bed Prasad Poudel,45, prepares fodder for his family’s cows in Bhaglapur, Kapilvastu, Nepal,

The daily routine of animal feed preparation engages the smallholder farmer for a significant amount of time. Mostly women are assigned to this role and catering to the livestock. An electric chaff cutter can be of significant help to increase farmers income by improving milk production, reducing labor intensive manual work, and saving some extra hours. The Nepal team delivered 1114 electric chaff cutters through 17 Cooperatives at a discounted rate through the Productive Equipment Program (PEP) funded by PWI Global. This program will enable farmers to purchase equipment at affordable cost to help increase their income. 

The Baral family in Bardiya is delighted with the electric Chaff Cutter that they recently purchased with support from Shree Nakha Agriculture Cooperative. “My husband and I would quarrel daily on who should cut grass for our livestock” Mrs. Baral said. “Bardiya summers get intense, and the heat drains us physically. The electric chaff cutters have given us so much relief, we can save time and rest, which is very desirable.

The use of chaff cutter has also significantly reduced the feed waste amongst the farmers. As Mrs. Baral highlights “I noticed that the loss of feed has also reduced, a lot of arduous work is required to grow the feed, I am glad it is not going to waste.”  The electric chaff cutters are a small machine but are a game changer for the farmers to manage their farms. Since, Nepal’s energy source is hydro-electricity, these machines play are a clean and green addition to their farms. 

Electric Chaff Cutters ready to be distributed

The placement of such machinery has reduced their dependence on labor (save time/money), promoted Agri Mechanism and reduced the cost of production and feed loss. With the subsidized rate, the farmers paid US$220 for the chaff cutter, which is US$40 cheaper than the market price. US$1=Rs.131.5) A revolving fund has been created in the Farmers Owned Agribusiness (Cooperatives) where the farmers purchase their equipment with monthly payments.

Previous practice of preparing feed included laborious manual chopping 

Laxmi Chaudhary of Dhurbatara Social Entrepreneur Women Cooperatives (SEWC) said, “We knew that chaff cutters were available in the market, but a discounted rate tempted us to purchase one immediately from the cooperative”. She adds “Now even my husband enjoys helping, he has been efficient with the machine. I am happy to see this behavior change in him, and I hope other men in my community too will follow this.”   

Chaff Cutter Distribution Program at Parishrami Cooperative, Rautahat

Farmers also perceived an increase in milk yield with electric chaff cutters. The chairperson of Chakrawati SEWC, Mrs. Sangita Bhurtel said “I noticed that with the feed chopped from the chaff cutter my animals are producing an additional 2 to 2.5 liters of milk daily and I am so happy for the extra income”.  

Ashish Adhikari, a government schoolteacher, and a farmer from Sindhuli bought the chaff cutter from the cooperative to chop straw for his mushroom farm and demonstrated its workings to his students, he says “My workload has decreased drastically and now even my students are enjoying and are engaged in the class as they don’t need to manually cut the straw.”   

Small interventions such as the chaff cutter are a big step towards building resilient farmers and sustainable food systems for the future. Through PWI Global’s Productive Equipment Program thousands of farmers will be able to purchase additional equipment year after year. 

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