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Necessity is the mother of all invention

Update: November, 30/2013 - 12:00

There is a saying in English, "necessity is the mother of all invention".

It means that if you need something badly enough, you will come up with an idea to make it happen.

Le Tan Ky, from Ben Tre province, had so many coconuts to break open, he could not finish his work in a day.

So, he made a special machine that could break many more coconuts in a day than the traditional tool could.

Breaking out of its shell:Ky's machine can cut open a coconut in 30 seconds, a vast improvement over traditional methods.
Breaking out of its shell:Ky's machine can cut open a coconut in 30 seconds, a vast improvement over traditional methods. - Photos Khoa Chien

By Khoa Chien and Giao Hoa

Le Tan Ky is the chairman of the VietGap co-operative in the southern province of Ben Tre, which provides pomelos and coconuts for domestic and foreign markets. He has also earned a reputation for inventing an automatic coconut-shelling device. These machines have proved their worth by making production more efficient and replacing traditional methods which were unsafe and slow.

"I dropped out of school for military service, and then I left the army to continue my studies. I had the opportunity to try various jobs in many places. In 2009, I decided to return to my homeland to get involved in the sale of pomelos and coconuts to buyers in HCM City," says Ky.

As things settled down, Ky started to receive more and more orders, but he was unable to process them quickly enough because everything was done by hand.

The dilemma pushed him to invent a coconut sheller. After days of pondering and experimenting with different ideas, Ky finally completed his machine.

At the end of 2011, his coconut sheller was finally finished. The machine is 1.2m high with two knives. The coconut is placed on six fixed pointed heads, and with two sharp twists, the shell falls off.

According to Ky, the main advantage is the speed of the machine.

"It can cut open a coconut in 30 seconds. A machine costs VND15 million, much cheaper than those imported from foreign countries," adds Ky.

The birth of the device has enabled his workshops to overcome the shortage of workers and handle more orders. Ky has also registered to copyright his invention, and he's excited by the interest he has received.

"I have sold 13 machines in Viet Nam and two more overseas. It was really unexpected. I only regret one thing: I don't have enough money to produce them in bulk at the moment, I am only able to make one or two at a time.

Cu Van Thanh, director of the Luong Quoi Co Ltd, has bought two of the machines.

"We have only used them for a short time so it's hard to evaluate their effectiveness. However, the initial results are good and it takes us half the time to shell the coconuts than it does by hand, enabling us to meet our orders with foreign partners," he says.

Ho Vinh Sang, chairman of the Ben Tre Coconut Association, speaks highly of Ky's invention and his commitment.

"The annual coconut output of Ben Tre is 60 million. Farmers depend on different varieties of coconut, and each has its different costs, so they must focus on the kind of fruit the market needs."

"Domestic entrepreneurs have made deals to export green coconuts which bring high profits, but that means a lot of hard work. I hope this machine will speed up the process, but I still think a few adjustments are needed to make it work more effectively," says Sang. — VNS

 

GLOSSARY

He has also earned a reputation for inventing an automatic coconut-shelling device.

Someone's reputation is what people think of that person.

These machines have proved their worth by making production more efficient and replacing traditional methods which were unsafe and slow.

Efficient means to work in a way that is well organised and successful.

The dilemma pushed him to invent a coconut sheller.

When someone is in a dilemma, they need to make a choice between options that are not attractive.

To invent something means to come up with an idea and make a new device, based on that idea.

After days of pondering and experimenting with different ideas, Ky finally completed his machine.

To ponder means to think long and hard about something in the hope of being able to make a good decision.

According to Ky, the main advantage is the speed of the machine.

Good things that come about as a result of something are advantages.

"A machine costs VND15 million, much cheaper than those imported from foreign countries," adds Ky.

To import means to buy something from another country.

Ky has also registered to copyright his invention, and he's excited by the interest he has received.

Copyright is the right to use artistic or creative material.

"I only regret one thing: I don't have enough money to produce them in bulk at the moment, I am only able to make one or two at a time."

To produce something in bulk means to produce many of them.

"We have only used them for a short time so it's hard to evaluate their effectiveness."

To evaluate the effectiveness of something means to measure how good it is.

"Farmers depend on different varieties of coconut, and each has its different costs, so they must focus on the kind of fruit the market needs."

The different varieties of coconuts are the different types of coconut.

"Domestic entrepreneurs have made deals to export green coconuts which bring high profits, but that means a lot of hard work."

Entrepreneurs are people who come up with ideas and turn them into business ventures.

"I hope this machine will speed up the process, but I still think a few adjustments are needed to make it work more effectively," says Sang.

Adjustments are changes.

WORKSHEET

State which of the following sentences are true, or false:

1.        Le Tan Ky has sold two machines in Viet Nam and 13 overseas.

2.        The chairman of the Ben Tre Coconut Association is someone called Ho Vinh Sang.

3.        Ben Tre province is in northern Viet Nam.

4.        Imported coconut breaker machines that are imported from other countries are cheaper than those made in Viet Nam.

5.        Le Tan Ky has registered to copyright his invention

 

ANSWERS:

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2013




















 1. False; 2. True; 3. False; 4. False; 5. True

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