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Where your hand meets the rubber

Substituting rubber for wood in a soil digging tool

Photo of festus mbuimwe
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According to a 2015 report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization, The economic lives of smallholder farmers, "About two-thirds of the developing world’s 3 billion rural people live in about 475 million small farm households, working on land plots smaller than 2 hectares." 

These farms aren't mechanized, and the main tool for digging is the hoe, made of a wooden handle. In February 2018, Kenya banned logging for 90 days because of the destruction Kenya's forests have experienced in the past, resulting in, among other effects, climate change (extreme heat and floods) and the reduction of Kenya's forest cover to the current 7%, below the UN recommended percentage of 10%; according to the National Resources Alliance of Kenya.

My idea is to replace the wooden handle with rubber to reduce the dependence on endangered forests not just in Kenya,but in other developing economies whose farmers use wooden handle hoes to prepare their lands.  

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Outsoles
  • Rubber Flashings
  • Rubber Granulate

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

The rubber will replace wood as the handle. Photo:

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

Smallholder farmers, and not just those who live in Kenya, who currently use wooden digging hoes to prepare their lands are the primary target market of a rubber (as the handle) digging hoe.

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

Using statistics that show the effects destruction of trees has on the environment as well as to the farmers' livelihoods should break the barrier to adoption of a rubber handled digging hoe. Having a prominent, small-holder farmer in every potential market as a brand envoy can also assist famrers to change their minds about adopting a rubber handle digging hoe.

How is your idea innovative?

Rubber does away with wood.

What inspired this idea?

“Deforestation, degradation and encroachment of water towers and other catchment areas coupled with uncontrolled human activities including wanton logging have threatened and undermined our country’s capability to ensure food security,” William Ruto, Deputy President,

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

I'm a Kenyan citizen, trying to act "glocally".

In what city are you located?


In what country are you located?


Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

Becoming a top idea will attract 'sharp' minds that'll refine my idea.


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