Hand Planter Could Save Time, Money for Small Farmers

Jelle Van Loon breaks tools for a living.

At the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center outside Mexico City, which is known by the Spanish acronym CIMMYT, the shaggy-sideburned engineer strikes the ground with a V-shaped, waist-high planting tool.

Its metal tip pierces the soil. He closes the sides of the V and the planter deposits a seed and a small dose of fertilizer into the earth.

Lift. Strike. Repeat. Van Loon says for a typical developing-world farmer who plants and …

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