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A Simple Paddy Dryer – Innovation in Practice by Eng. Parakrama Jayasinghe
 
     
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The Mechanical Engineering Sectional Committee had adopted the three themes of Energy Transport and Innovation as the most topical issues currently facing Sri Lanka in the recent times.

 

In addition the MESC was also desirous of lending a helping hand to the segments of society who are generally not in the focus of either the state or other agencies, but who deserve our consideration.

 
A Simple Paddy Dryer – Innovation in Practice by Eng. Parakrama Jayasinghe
The team – Eng. Parakrama Jayasinghe, Eng. Loshan Palayangoda, Eng. D.D.M.P. Bandara, Eng. Mahesh Dissanayake and Dr. Gamini Kulathunga. (Eng. H.M.A.P.Rathnayake is not in the picture
 

Accordingly after much discussion on the target groups and possible activities that would have the greatest impact and could be considered as a much touted Corporate Social Responsibility activity, the decision was made that the rural paddy farmers could do with some help. It is well recognized that, the paddy farmers who feed the nation are facing many difficulties but are forever kept at subsistence level by successive governments. While there are many areas where the farmers do deserve greater consideration and assistance, the MESC had to select a task that could be both achievable in a reasonable time frame as well as in an area where our own knowledge and expertise could be made us of, to ensure the success of the task selected. It is also considered desirable if the activity would have a significant impact on as large a group as possible. Based on some newspaper articles by concerned people such as Late Mr. Ranjith Muleriyawa, a rural farmer himself and therefore could be considered as a reliable source, it was agreed that a critical point at which the rural paddy farmer is at greatest risk is at the time of converting the hard won harvest to hard cash.

 

Even though the government declares guaranteed prices for the purchase of paddy, the amount purchased is limited to 2 tons per farmer, creating much hardships to the farmers. This is further compounded by the stipulation of moisture content, based on which the paddy brought to the purchasing center by the farmers, having spent for the transport and waiting in a queue, may be rejected. This problem is most acute if there is a cloudy spell which would prevent the farmers using the traditional sun drying.

 

To alleviate at least this problem, it was proposed to design a simple dryer for paddy, which can be manufactured at an affordable cost, preferably by a village workshop, as a CSR project by the Mechanical Engineering Sectional Committee.

 

Once the decision was made the challenge was put to the members to come out with their proposals and designs. Not many of our members are familiar with the issues involved in the cultivation and harvesting and processing of paddy except perhaps at a cursory level. Therefore in order to give them an initial kick start and a base line for their design efforts, a number of meetings were held, to which well-known experts were invited to attend or to provide their inputs by mail.

 

Arising from these meetings a set of preliminary design parameters were developed as a guideline as out lined below.

 
 
 
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