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Meet 5 amazing innovators from rural India

Last updated on: October 1, 2010 08:47 IST

Meet 5 amazing innovators from rural India

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There is no end to farmers' woes in India. Even as prices of farm products rise, the poor farmer only gets poorer with middlemen and traders making all the money.

The only hope for millions of farmers is simple solutions to make their farming practices easier and cost effective. Meet farmers-turned-innovators, who are transforming the agriculture sector with their unique and affordable solutions . . .

Uddhab Bharali

Uddhab Bharali is a serial innovator who has designed and prototyped around 85 devices for different purposes.

He first developed the polythene-making machine in 1988. Some of his innovations include:

Pomegranate De-seeder: It separates the outer cover and thin inner membrane without damaging the seeds. It has a capacity of deseeding 50-55 kg of pomegranate fruits per hour. The machine has been exported to Turkey and the United States of America.

Arecanut Peeler: Annoyed by the injuries caused while peeling the areca nuts manually, he developed an areca nut peeling machine with a capacity of peeling 100-120 nuts per minute.

Cassava peeler: It is a portable electric machine that can process up to five kg of cassava per minute. NIF facilitated the technology licensing on non-exclusive basis to a Guwahati based entrepreneur. One unit has even been sold to a customer based in Kenya.

Bamboo processing machines: Bamboo processing by hand is a time consuming and difficult process. Bharali has developed an assembly of machines that can perform operations like splitting long lengths of bamboo, sizing, surface finishing, polishing, etc.

Bharali has also developed garlic peeling machine, tobacco leaf cutter, paddy thresher, cane stripping machine, brass utensil polishing machine, musli peeling machine, Jatropha de-seeder, mechanized weeding machine, passion fruit juice extractor and trench digger.

You can write to info@nifindia.org for more information on these innovations.

Text, photographs: National Innovation Foundation

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Image: Uddhab Bharali receives the innovation award from President Pratibha Patil.

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Meet 5 amazing innovators from rural India

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Bachubhai Savjibhai Thesia

Bachubhai is known as 'Khopadee' (brains) in this small township. To many he may appear a persistent explorer of crazy ideas, but his reputation as a serial innovator has spread far and wide.

Doing away with the steering wheel, Bachubhai (58), an inventor and innovator, has developed a lever operated farm machine capable of doing most agricultural operations.

He also has many more innovations to his credit viz. motorcycle operated agricultural device, sensor system for irrigating fields, a personalized bulb with an added circuit to increase life, multi-purpose machine consisting of a generator, a water lifting pump, a flour mill and an iron cutting machine, among other things.

As a child, Bachubhai had great interest in electronics and other mechanical works. He recalls having made a radio set in his school days, which is still kept in his school as a relic.

Whenever he accompanied his father to the fields, he would make different things resembling devices and instruments with moist soil.

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Image: Bachubhai Savjibhai Thesia.

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Meet 5 amazing innovators from rural India

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Dhirajlal Virjibhai Thummar

A new wilt resistant groundnut variety has been developed Dhirajlal Virjibhai Thummar. This early maturing variety also gives higher yield than other locally popular varieties.

Groundnut production had been severely hit due to disease of wilt, locally known as Sukado, is responsible for the reduction in groundnut yield. In 2004, he saw a complete crop failure as the whole field got infested with the stem rot disease resulting in wilting. However, he identified a few plants, which were not affected by this disease.

Believing that these may have some inherent property that makes them stem rot resistant, he harvested and kept the seeds of these plants separately. He sowed the seeds separately in the next season and continued the screening and selection for three consecutive years. Finally he obtained the plants, which were free from stem rot and wilt as a result of it.

'Dhiraj 101', the new variety of groundnut, selected from the GG 20 variety is early maturing and is resistant to wilt due to stem rot. At 3,200-3,500 kg per hectare, the yield is also higher than that of the locally cultivated varieties (GG 20 & GG 2).

The oil content is also higher at around 42-45 per cent. This variety performs well in average monsoon also. Dhirajlal uses only herbal pesticide for the control of insect pests and diseases.

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Image: Dhirajlal Virjibhai.

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Meet 5 amazing innovators from rural India

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"Yeh to Bhagwan ki di hui bhent hai, aur Bhagwan toh kabhi apni vastu par patent leta nahi, toh fir unki gift par patent kyun? Ye to sabki pahunch main hona chahiye." -- Pandharinath Sarjerao More

(The knowledge I have is a gift from God. God never get his knowledge patented. Why should I get patent over his gift, let this knowledge be accessible to all)

Pandharinath Sarjerao More

A farmer from Maharashtra, Pandharinath Sarjerao More developed an affordable, semi-automatic transplanter for timely sowing of onion seedlings

The task of transplanting onion seedlings manually is time consuming and labour intensive.

Pandharinath's onion transplanter is a tractor drawn semi-automatic unit. It can perform three functions at a time viz. transplanting the onion, applying the fertilizer and making the irrigation channels.

More, does not mind anyone copying and using his technology. In fact, he wants the technology to be used widely for the betterment of the farmers.

He has to his credit many innovations like the water pump controller, based on the principle of float and can automatically switch on/off a pump, a biogas stove with an increased efficiency of over 50 per cent.

He is also an expert in motor winding, modifying tractor and bullock operated implements, and delivering engines and threshers with enhanced performance. He also started developing metallic farm implements that were more durable than wooden implements prone to wear and tear.

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Image: Onion transplanter. Pandharinath Sarjerao More (Inset)

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Meet 5 amazing innovators from rural India

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Mushtaq Ahmad Dar

Mushtaq Ahmad Dar (28), a young innovator from Kashmir, has developed a machine that can crack walnuts and peel the green ones.

He has also made a portable climber that can be used to climb trees and poles. Presently, he is developing a machine for cracking almonds.

The device is a walnut cracking machine that can process dry walnuts of various sizes, shapes and hardness and crack them open without damaging the fruit.

Walnuts are part of the large dry fruits industry in Kashmir and roughly over one lakh metric tones of walnuts are produced every year. This solution eliminates drudgery and increases productivity in a safe and simple way, this innovation is of immediate relevance to thousands of households in the Kashmir valley who are engaged in the dry fruits trade.

With this machine, the innovator is able to process ten fold of what he would have with a skilled labour in one day.

He has also designed a device to restrict nicotine inhalation for smokers, magnetic leveler for fields, manual electricity generator and a handy fruit plucker.


Image: Walnut cracking device, Mushtaq Ahmad Dar (inset)

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