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Martin Constantine: the farmer of invention

More than 1,200 sesame farmers are saving precious time thanks to Martin's invention. More than 1,200 sesame farmers are saving precious time thanks to Martin's invention.

Sesame is a small seed with big potential. It’s in high demand across the world, this led Martin, a Tanzanian farmer, to a ‘ground breaking’ invention.

Traditional sesame farming techniques for sesame are tough and time consuming. Painstakingly planting by hand, farmers like Martin cover vast distances, bending over repeatedly to dig small holes for each seed. It is a back-breaking process.

Farm Africa is working in Tanzania’s Babati district to help 2,000 farmers grow bigger and better sesame harvests. Martin is one of them.

As part of his training, Martin was shown how to speed up his planting by using a stick to carve a furrow. But this technique planted more than just seeds. It planted an idea.

Martin welded three metal prongs together to create a tool that carved three planting lines at once. The design has even evolved to include small holders for a mix of seeds and soil. Dubbed the ‘Costa Planter’, seeds are dropped every 15 centimetres and covered by the planter with soil.

The result is a revelation.

Thanks to increased harvests and the money he makes from selling and renting out his machines, Martin’s income has climbed from £95 to £1,888 a year, a 20-fold increase! His farm is thriving with goats, cattle, chickens and fish. His family eats three meals a day, and he can afford to send his children to school. He even helped his wife to set up her own business.

Sesame is the seed that will see Martin outgrow poverty. And as a Farm Africa co-operative member, he is keen to support others:

“I share what I have learnt with others and so far have provided training for almost 500 farmers… Up to now around 1,200 farmers are using my rake planter and 90 are using the Costa Planter.”

A gift of £60 could help provide training for more farmers like Martin, allowing them to increase their incomes and unlock their potential.