KLUANG: His eureka moment came after having injured himself too often for having to peel almost 500kg of plantain daily. Entrepreneur Shahabuddin Sharafat Ali, 52, decided to design a zero-injury knife to ease the chore.
“I have to peel some 400kg to 500kg of pisang tanduk (plaintain bananas) every day. More often than not, the sharp blades of the knife would injure me. “Although the skin of the pisang tanduk is harder than the usual type of banana, it is still soft enough to be peeled with blunt knives. “So I set out to make my own knife,” he said during the Johor Agriculture Department Innovation Day and excellence service awards ceremony here on Wednesday.
The father of six, who produces crispy plantain chips from his farm near Mukim 1 in Semerah, Batu Pahat, won the Farmers’ Innovation Competition 2016 for his simple but creative knife. Shahabuddin said that the curved knife made it easier for him, besides allowing him to finish his task faster.
He claimed that he could peel between 40kg and 50kg of plantains per hour.
“If you use a normal knife, you would probably peel an average of 12kg to 15kg an hour or 30kg to 35kg with a fruit peeler.
He described his creation as simple, consisting of a stainless steel blade attached to a curved knife handle.
“Using a grinder, I made one side thinner with a pointed edge, similar to a usual knife but I did not sharpen it.
“The length of the knife is also shorter than normal for an easier grip when peeling. The best part is that my five-year-old daughter can also help me as the knife is not dangerous,” he said, adding it only cost him RM15 to make the knife.
Durian farm owner Low Soon New, 56, came in second place in the competition for his durian scraper invention, which is likened to a mini rake usually used to clear dried leaves.
Low’s invention, however, is used to clear the dried leaves that are usually stuck on the thorns of the “king of fruits”, which is said to be an important process of fruit production before it is marketed to the masses.
“Before we sell our fruits, we have to ensure they are clean and edible.
“The process of clearing the dried leaves stuck on the durian thorns can be rather tedious and time-consuming, especially if you are dealing with a large number.
“With this durian scraper, traders can clean the fruit in less than 10 scrapes, about half the effort needed compared to the usual items used such as wooden sticks or rubber combs,” he said.