Enterprise: In a small ceremony yesterday, Namgay, 43, of Septoka village in Baap, Punakha, introduced two wooden winnowers he made at home.

The father of three is perhaps the first to fabricate wooden winnowers at home.  One is equipped with a motor and can be used with electricity while the other is run with the help of a gear and used without electricity.

The product is used to separate the chaff from rice (grain) through an air current produced by a fan installed inside the winnower. It takes the machine 10 minutes to separate the chaff from a 20kg bag of rice.

“I was inspired to make a bigger and real one, when a small winnower I made for my niece’s science project turned out well.”

He said he was further encouraged when the same product he had made was shown to their member of parliament, Dophu Drukpa, and the prime minister during their visit to the village few months ago.

“I was inspired to work hard after the prime minister told me that I should think of selling the product to other farmers,” Namgay said.

He sent the two products for an evaluation to the agriculture machinery centre (AMC) in Bajo and made some improvements with their recommendation.

Namgay said it wouldn’t have taken much time to make the machines if he had all the required materials in place.  He said he was planning to find a market through AMC’s help and sell it to interested farmers across the country.

“I’m thinking of charging Nu 9,000 to 10,000 for the winnower that runs on electricity and Nu 6,000 for the manual one,” Namgay said.

He also plans to employ vocational training institute graduates and develop a business seeking help from Loden Foundation.

Officials with the AMC, Bajo said that, in the past, the centre sold fabricated wooden and metal winnowers to farmers.  A few years ago, it was also tendered out locally and supplied to the farmers.  However, to date, no requests and inquiries were received and the centre stopped selling the product.

AMC has helped Namgay with the pulleys and gears for his work.  During an evaluation, the AMC recommended him to give the winnowers a better finishing to attract customers.

By Dawa Gyelmo, Punakha