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How a rural innovation is transforming ginger and turmeric plantation

The conventional method of ginger and turmeric plantation leads farm labourers to drudgery. To overvome the challenge, in a Maharashtra village, a farmer came out with an innovative solution. Mohd Mustaquim reports

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Ashok Naik, 38, in Kannad in the Aurgaabad district cultivates turmeric in his 3 acre land. Sowing of turmeric is a very tough task for him. In the sowing period, it takes five days to sow the seeds. Every day, after sowing in beding posture, he feels severe pain in his back. Meanwhile, he comes to know about a new machine which can ease his work. Today, he does the same work without any pain and in a single day.

The conventional method of ginger and turmeric plantation has been very tedious, time consuming and backbreaking task as the labourers have to work in bending posture regularly. The hard work associated with the plantation leads to drudgery of farm labourers.  

Meanwhile, in 2009, at Soygaon village, 15 km from Ajantha Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, Indrajit Balvirsingh Khas decided to find out some solution of the problem. After three years of long and continuous efforts, he came up with a highly sophisticated machine, ginger and turmeric planter in 2012.

“Initially, people were not ready to accept a non-branded machine. However, I sold 6-7 machines by word of mouth. After exhibiting the machine in Exhibition of Innovations organised by National Innovation Foundation - India at Rashtrapati Bhawan in March 2014, I sold 25 machines within few months,” says the innovator.

He took an operational capital of Rs 2 lakh from National Innovation Foundation (NIF) through Micro Venture Innovation Fund (MVIF) at an interest rate of 7.5 percent for one year. Patronising the innovative technology, NIF also provided him technological support through its engineers for bringing advancement in the machine.

This is a tractor mounted turmeric and ginger planter with adjustable row spacing, costing Rs 75,000. This planter opens the furrow, meters and delivers the seeds and places it appropriately in the furrow. The planter includes feeder, metering mechanism, chain drive, bevel gears, rotating discs and adjustable furrow openers.

One can adjust the raw spacing from 4.5 to 5.5 ft. Besides, the machine carries a wheel at the base that can adjust the plant to plant distance, which can be varied from 6 inch, 9 inch to 12 inch.

Rural India has abundance of innovative ideas. It has led to creation of a database of over two lakh such technological ideas, innovations and traditional knowledge and practices by NIF from 575 districts from the country. NIF, an autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India has taken major initiatives to serve the knowledge-rich, economically poor people and has so far recognised more than 775 grassroots innovations, communities and school students at the national level in its various award functions.

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