Improved Toasting Ovens for Peanuts in Bolivia

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Peanut Toasting Bolivia

The peanut production has been increasing among the producers of the mesothermic regions in Bolivia: about 3500 families were benefited in the last 7 years with different programs to improve the production, transformation and commercialization for the local market and also for export; including the organic product promotion. At the moment, Bolivia produces around 13300 Tm of peanuts per year.

Energising Development (EnDev) Bolivia aims to respond a punctual demand from this kind of projects; participating in the co-funding of the technology by giving access to modern energy and trainings for its´ use and maintenance. Also, all interventions inquire about positive effects in the producer’s value chain and their possibilities to create sustainable employments with local economic development; alleviating the burden of migration to big cities or even to other countries.


The strategy consists in minimizing the subsidies by motivating the use of local resources with a co-funding of 25-30 US Dollar per family, assuming a maximum of 60% of the technology costs. All other required equipments and infrastructure is financed by their local government, association funds or other organizations that are interested in the alliance. An important aspect of the strategy is the strong participation of the producers and local actors; like authorities or professionals from other institutions that are working in middle or long term projects in the region. So, the costs, the coordination and responsibility for the execution are shared with the producers whom develop an ownership for the oven.

The level of efficiency of this kind of projects is given by two main factors:

  1. EnDev attends the punctual demand of technology, so the execution timing is given by the availability of the financial counterpart, the energy source, and the appropriate infrastructure. If all are available, the project can start.
  2. The strategic alliance with local NGO’s and authorities, which make an accurate coordination and information exchange.

One identified efficiency factor of the strategy regards with the ownership and sustainability. The producers also receive trainings from a technician for the use, maintenance and cleaning. Here is important to mention that the new technology has a completely different aspect from the traditional one: it includes a control panel, and many commands are needed to be handled. So in some cases, a local trained technician operates the oven for one or two years, and later the producers assume the activity completely. In other cases, the producers organize themselves and operate the machine, with the help of a manual.

Other factors are the financial management of the oven operation, control of the operation hours and the consumption of energy / fuel. The association defines a price for toasting which it is different between a partner of the group and other producers in the area, whom has to pay an additional amount, about 10 Bolivianos (1,4 US$) more.

Also, about 5 mechanics from Cochabamba, Sucre and the Chaco region were trained to be able to build this technology in alliance with the “Valles Foundation” and the Denmark Cooperation Agency. This made possible for EnDev to delegate different mechanical workshops to build the same oven for 14 demands in a period of approximately one year. Meaning as well, a plus for those manufacturers that built ovens not only for EnDev demands, but also directly for other associations or institutions. At the moment some of them sold ovens to other associations with the same characteristics or with adaptations for maize, beans and dry chili. At the same time, they changed the oven size, from 250 kg to 5 kg per process. The consumption of this small oven is 1½ kg of gas and 1½ KW per toasting process.


Inside EnDev interventions, there are 10 villages involved that are located in the regions of Cochabamba, Potosí and Chuquisaca with approximately 1240 families. All benefited within their associations that have a directory that is reelected every year. There is a high level of organization in where they join together because of the common agricultural activity. The producers must organize their infrastructure for the technology and the appropiate grid connection. Furthermore, they have to manage the payment of electricity, and administrate the costs and finances to make the technology use sustainable. In every case, there is also a responsible for technical activities: use, cleaning and maintenance of the technology. Also the payment for this person is considered in the fees for the use of the oven.
The women participation in the project increased 15% (2006 - 2010), because they participate directly in the field works, commercialization, and in the whole process.

The benefits of the toasting process with the improved oven convinced the producers in the communities and surroundings, because of the following aspects[1]:

Factor Considering a toasting process (250 kg)
Traditional Process Improved Process
Process price 11,4 US$
8,6 US$ (association)
10 US$ (non association)
Operation time 3 ½ h 1 ½ h
Product quality 87% good (13% loss by non-homogeneous toasting or shell damage) 98% homogeneous toasting
Process temperature control 140°C Very limited because the metal cylinder is direct over the flame Precise, because of the flame regulation and thermostat
Electricity consumption - 5kw (0,7 US$) per toasting process
Combustion Aprox. 46 kg wood
1.25 US$
4 kg gas (LPG)
CO Emissions (worker testing condition) 39,9 ppm* 3 ppm*
(90.3% less CO emission)
CO2 Emissions 8.593 kg Gas: 1.996 kg
Electricity: 75 kg
(75% less CO2)

The market for toasted peanuts increased regionally and nationally, with some export experiences to Spain (2007) and the Netherlands (2008).
With the use of the improved oven, the quality of the toasted peanut is higher and producers do not need to buy wood or deforest their areas anymore. The LPG used in the new oven, is produced in Bolivia and is available in rural regions. Also, the process now is faster (2 hours time savings) and more homogeneous, decreasing the losses in the toasting process.

Further Information


  1. Valles Foundation, CIAPROT, Peanut Process Center Mizque, EnDev CPC (Test Center of Stoves).fckLR*Concerning health damage due to CO exposition: the norm, allows 26,08 ppm in 1 hour and 8,7 ppm in 8 hours of exposition. IBNORCA (NB 62015) Instituto Boliviano de Normalización.