The World is a Peanut Farm
Groundnuts and beyond in the Gambia
The Republic of the Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa. Each peanut farm is important to the village of Toro Bah, the Gambia. Farmers in Toro Bah grow okra, onions, tomatoes, and peanuts. Crops are eaten locally, and sold at the market. Peanuts are cleaned, sorted, shelled, roasted, and ground into peanut butter.
"I'll eat some, and I'll sell some" says a farmer in this video made in Toro Bah, The Gambia, 2010.
The Gambia's area is little more than the banks of the Gambia river. The narrow country is bordered by Senegal on all sides except for it's tiny coast on the Atlantic.
Agriculture provides about 30% of the Gambia's gross domestic product, and employs about 70% of the country's labor. Population is estimated to be 1,700,000 people. The few industrial businesses typically rely on agriculture, such as peanut processing. Peanuts account for about 7% of their GDP.
Peanut Farm in Jakin, Georgia
A successful peanut farm begins with equipment, and soil maintenance. The condition of the field, tractors, and other hardware used for tilling, planting, and harvesting are essential factors the farmer can manipulate for increased productivity, along with seed variety selection. Most other variables are outside of the farmers' direct control other than irrigation. As with other industries, farmers attempt to balance these expenses with potential gains.
These 3 videos made in Jakin, Georgia show the stages of modern industrial peanut farming in fabulous detail (copyright 2008 Costi productions).
Peanut seeds are inoculated with bradyrhizobium bacteria powder in the planter just prior to planting. This bacteria will live inside the roots, and symbiotically convert atmospheric nitrogen to a form the plant can use.
With enough water the peanuts flower about 30 days after planting. Plants grow bushy under the sun, more flowers appear daily. Each flower lasts one day, and grows a peg after self pollination. The pegs grow downward into the soil.
Peanut pods form at the tip of each underground peg. Each plant forms about 40-50 pods.
Water is essential to the peanut plants' growth therefore irrigation is sometimes used to insure a good crop. This farm pumps water from a well to feed the rotating sprinklers.
After sun drying in the windrow for several days the peanuts are combined. The combine picks up the peanuts, separates the pods from their vines, removes the stems from the pods, and then delivers clean undamaged pods into the hopper.
Peanut Buying Point in Surrency, Georgia
Peanuts are transported to the buying point as shown in this video. Raw peanuts are tracked with automation.
Incoming tests on the peanuts measure their moisture content. Peanuts' moisture content determines their drying time, and dried weight. Propane heaters with ducted fans are used to dry the peanuts in the trailers down to 10% moisture.
Old Time Peanut Harvesting