Since 2010, the United Missionary Society of Ireland have been working with the Diocese of Swaziland to turn unused church land into a vegetable farm project. Besides thousands of cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, beetroot and maize, the farm now produces some 2500 kilos of carrots per week. First the carrots were washed by hand, then in a modified cement mixer, but with increasing demand from local supermarkets and a profitable export market in South Africa for quality vegetables, a more efficient method of washing carrots was urgently required.
The Church of Ireland Board of Mission for the United Dioceses of Ardfert, Limerick & Killaloe, who have been supporting the Luyengo Farm Project in Swaziland since 2011, approached the staff of the Agricultural Engineering Dept. at Institute of Technology Tralee, to design and build a carrot washer. On account of their knowledge and, experience of making equipment for Africa, since 1985 the management agreed to take on the project, with the result that two third year students, studying for the Ordinary Degree in Agricultural Engineering, namely Brenda O’Sullivan from Farmers Bridge, Tralee and John Doyle from Beaufort, Killarney, volunteered to design and build a carrot washer as their major project.
With hard work and assistance and advice from the technician staff of the Agricultural Engineering Dept., they were able to complete their objective, to produce a machine which is not only a novel method of washing carrots but also capable of washing a wide range of vegetables.
The carrot washer, along with boxes of clothing, rain gear, school books and hand tools were loaded onto three trailers, Wednesday 24th June 2015 en route to Dublin Port. If all goes to plan the vegetable washer should be in action by the middle of September this year.
The Diocesan Board of Mission would not only like to thank everyone who gave of their time, money and hardware, but especially the three main sponsors namely, Cross Agricultural Engineering Ltd, Rathangan, Co Kildare; Dairymaster, Causeway, Co Kerry and the staff of the Agricultural Engineering Dept., Institute of Technology Tralee, for their time, assistance, and support of this project to make it a success story!
Arch Deacon Wayne Carney, Birr (Chair) David Frizelle, Tralee, (Secretary)