Farmers reap rewards from 3D printing

Sample of mechanical parts made using 3D printing technology sit in display as an employee works on a design at a printing factory in Yangon. Photos: AFPWhizzing across a blue-lit platform with a whirr and a squeak, liquid plastic pours from its chrome tip. The 3D printer seems a far cry from the muddy fields surrounding Yangon.

But in an industrial park south of the city 3D printing technology is now being used to design bespoke parts that are changing the lives of struggling farmers, who often rely on making their own tools or adapting imports in place of agriculture machinery.

But poor equipment is only one challenge amid natural disasters and razor-thin profit-margins for Myanmar’s farmers. Agriculture accounts for nearly half of Myanmar’s economic output, but it is among the smallest export markets in Asia.

But change is afoot at social enterprise Proximity Designs, where 3D printers are being used to design specially adapted farming tools, in consultation with the farmers who will use them.

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