Innovates to Make Agriculture easy
“IT IS a fallacy to think that innovation is a high-end activity that takes place only in sophisticated laboratories. “Innovation encompasses technological innovation, a fresh way of management or a different way of doing the same task, but which would result in better performance,” said Smt Pratibha Patil, President of India, at a meeting in New Delhi to honour grass root innovators.
Wasteful expenditure When crores of rupees are being spent for agriculture by the Government every year for developing new machines and systems to help farmers, the sad fact is that either the machines developed are not popular, or in some cases fail to meet the expected requirement. But a farmer in Assam, Mr. Uddhab Bharali, developed more than 85 engineering devices for different purposes in agriculture. Out of these thirteen are commercialised. Mr. Bharali set up a research workshop to help local communities and industries solve their technological needs in his hometown of North Lakshimpur on the banks of the river Brahmaputra. Natural flair “I believe that developing new machines comes naturally to me and it is this flair which helped me repay my father’s debts by starting a polythene film making industry to cater to the demand from the surrounding tea estates,” says Mr. Bharali. He designed and developed a new polythene making machine at a subsidised cost of sixty seven thousand rupees, when company made machines were priced at Rs. 4 lakh. The success of this machine gave Mr. Bharali the confidence to develop more machines. After repaying his father’s debts, he got a contract for maintenance of machinery in a hydropower project in Arunachal Pradesh near the Indo-China border. Some of the other machines which he developed are: Pomegranate de seederwhich separates the outer hard skin and the thin inner membrane without damaging the seeds. Using this machine one can easily deseed 50-55 kg of pomegranates in an hour. The machine has been exported to Turkey and the U.S. Arecanut peeler Manual peeling of areca nuts is a cumbersome job and there are chances of fingers getting cut. Mr. Bharali developed an areca nut peeling machine with a capacity to peel 100-120 nuts in a minute. Another device, the cassava peeler is a portable electric machine that can process up to 5 kg of cassava per minute. Mr. Bharali developed an assembly of machines that performs operations such as splitting long lengths of bamboo, sizing, surface finishing and polishing them. These units are installed with the help of the National Innovation Foundation at North Cachar hills. Other innovations In addition to the above, the farmer also developed remi recortication machine, garlic peeling machine, tobacco leaf cutter, paddy thresher, cane stripping machine, brass utensil polishing machine, safed musli peeling machine, jatropha de-seeder, mechanised weeding machine, passion fruit juice extractor, trench digger and a chopper for cattle and fisheries feed. Many of the innovations are popular in foreign countries. The Central Silk board sought his guidance to redesign a sophisticated reeling machine. He also designed a stevia pulveriser & passion fruit gel extractor for North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCRMP). Resource scholar Mr. Bharaliis also a resource scholar for the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship and a technical consultant to Rural Technology Action Group (RUTAG) for the development of technology at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati