Friday, October 10, 2008

The 13th good thing about Northern Nigeria: experiencing groundnut processing

Someone on our trip said, "Nigeria is a strange country: they sell water in plastic bags and peanuts in glass bottles." And it's true, cheap drinking water local people buy from vendors on the street (not purified well enough for us) is often in a plastic bag and the drinker tears off a corner to consume the contents. And the local peanuts available for sale in the stores are often packaged in recycled soda bottles. But here they call them "groundnuts," and they are a major crop in the north of Nigeria.

After we left the weaver's village, before we reached the main road back to Kano, we stopped beside the road where workers were shelling and bagging groundnuts.

Their work area was on plastic tarps spread right beside the road. I guess this made it easier for transportation of the raw and finished products.

I was kind of surprised that in this country where human labor is extremely cheap that there is actually a mechanized step in this process. The raw groundnuts are put through this machine which crushes the shell.

Women with calabash bowls then lift up the nuts and shell pieces after they pass through the machine and sift the material, separating the heavier nuts from the lighter pieces of shell.

Women then pick through the remains of that process to reach out any nuts that may have been missed.

The groundnuts are separated for bagging.

And the shell fragments are also bagged, we guessed they use them for animal feed.

The animals are just a bit too close to the drying nuts here for my comfort zone. Watching this didn't make me too anxious to consume more of the local groundnuts -- a little too much personal contact-- though before this I always found them quite tasty.

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