Embracing 3D printing techniques is improving farming efficiency in rural areas of Myanmar. The areas which heavily rely on their work on the land, have been supported with use of rapid prototyping.

Proximity Designs, a non-profit organisation that is utilizing 3D printing in this way, have “boosted the incomes of over 250,000 rural people across the country” as a result.

3D printing has considerable application for the agricultural industry as it gives power to workers in poorer, rural areas. Such as in this case, the ability to produce specific parts for use in machinery. We’ve looked at the work of Proximity Designs before, after MakerBot donated a 3D printer to the organization.

Proximity Designs are bringing new thinking to traditional techniques in rural Myanmar. Photo via Proximity Designs.

Proximity Designs are bringing new thinking to traditional techniques in rural Myanmar. Photo via Proximity Designs.

Farming in Myanmar

Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in the world and a large proportion of its 6 million inhabitants are self-sufficient farmers. With 60% of these farming areas producing rice. However, obtaining farming equipment is difficult in this poor country with technological advancements being few and far between. Counteracting this, Proximity Designs had the idea of using 3D printing for prototyping engineering designs.

Co-founder of the organization, Debbie Aung Din, explains using 3D printing cuts down the prototyping process from weeks and months to a matter of days. Through consultation with local farmers, Proximity Designs have been able to rapidly design parts for equipment such as sprinkler systems or water pumps. Allowing remote areas to have access to improved farming equipment.

The farming equipment production process at Proximity Designs in Myanmar. Photo via MakerBot.

The farming equipment production process at Proximity Designs in Myanmar. Photo via MakerBot.

How it has affected farming

Results of the 3D printing prototyping are already prevalent as 60 year-old betel leaf farmer Kyaw Win explains,

Using products like this can cut in half the amount of time we have to spend working each day

Instead of paying people to water his plants for him. Win is able to use a sprinkler developed by Proximity Designs to do the hard work for him. This does not just save energy,  Win explains it has “also reduced our costs by more than half compared to what we had to spend before.” This shows how 3D printing has enabled these poor areas to embrace advanced technology and subsequently improve their outputs.

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Featured image shows a Water pump designed by Proximity Designs. Photo via Proximity Designs. 

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