Pune based YOJAK fishes out40 village innovators in Maharashtra
Intro:After Independence, we invested huge amount of money on invention of big farm equipments like tractors and other machines. But nothing substantially could be done for
efficiency improvement in daily farm activities. True to the saying “necessity is the mother of invention”, this work is done by innumerable grass roots innovators as per their local requirements. Most of such innovators are so-called illiterate people without any technical background. But they are passionate as they know what they are doing will ultimately benefit the society in long run. Pune based YOJAK has initiated concrete steps to document and promote the inventions by such unsung innovators, writes Pramod Kumar
Shri Arjun Shinde is a marginalised farmer belonging to Jalna district of Maharashtra. One day while ploughing the field one of the bullocks from the pair suddenly stopped working. Arjun’s work suffered hugely, as most of his farm implements were two-bullocks-operated. Somehow, he managed that year. But the moment changed his life. He started working on single bullock driven implements for various activities of farming. And he did it successfully. Till date, he has invented 17 such implements—literally from the waste material. He sells all such implements locally. There is huge demand for his products, as they practically make the farm work easier.
YOJAK Centre for Research and Strategic Planning for Sustainable Development
Dada Wadekar from Thane district is another gross roots innovator. In the last 20 years he has developed a set of implements, which can do almost all basic activities of farming which involves lot of drudgery and time. His set of 16 implements cost only Rs 1,200. He has developed sickle for left handers as they face lot of difficulty to use common sickle.
Equally, Shri Pravin Lad, a young farmer living on the borders of Jalna-Aurangabad district in Maharashtra, runs small fabrication unit, which is the main source of his livelihood. Considering scope of small implements, he has developed more than 50 such implements. Few of them have been developed by him, while others are manufactured based on available information. Pravin is passionate about his work and is constantly involved in developing new implements. He was able to keep costs low by using recycled material as well as making single machine for multiple operations.
Shri Ravindra Karde lives in a village near Ahmednagar city. He is dry land farmer with Jowar as the main crop. Cereal sowing is a difficult task with greater chances of loss of seeds due to wind and other physical barriers. So seed requirement rate for cereals like Jowar, Bajara, etc are relatively high. Considering this constraint, he developed cereal sowing-machine using plastic pipe. This non-fuel machine can be operated using bullock or a person can drive it on its own. It helps clean and neat sowing of cereals, decrease seed consumption and reduce time required for sowing. In semi-arid regions, large tracts are covered with cereals crops. This machine is a miracle for the small farmers.
Arjun Shinde, Dada Wadekar, Pravin Lad or Ravindra Karde are just few examples of India’s grass roots innovators. There are innumerable such innovators, who silently work to improve the lives of local people, but their contribution is neither recognised nor is their work documented anywhere. No government agency or corporate CSR initiative support such inventions.
But Pune based YOJAK has taken a big initiative in this regard not only to promote their inventions but also to spread their work on big canvas.
The spread of mechanisation in our country is driven by structured system of research to extension involving research institutes and government extension machinery. In the whole process, thrust is on large equipments and nobody cares for the equipments needed in daily life by farmers or the farm labourers. Spread of tractor is one of the indicators to measure mechanisation progress in India. Green Revolution in Northern India also strengthened the conceptual utility of large implements only. But situation in other parts of the country, especially in hilly tracts like central India’s Vanvasi areas, is different. Small holdings on undulating land have not supported promotion of large implements for agriculture purposes. Situation of small farmers is very difficult all over the country. There is stagnation in productivity, increase in costs and climate change making agriculture more vulnerable. Non-availability of labour has become a major issue in most of the rural areas. Appropriate mechanisation is one way to cope up with such
Last year, some organisations jointly organised ‘Tech for Seva’ Conference in Pune. The sub theme of the Conference was ‘Implements for Small and Marginal Farmers’. “We gathered information and involved around 40 such innovators across Maharashtra in the Conference. Implements developed by them were displayed during the Conference. For the first time, their innovation was displayed in any scientific conference before reputed scientists. We know we can get such innovators across India. All of them are working on their own without any formal support. But their cause is noble. It is for society and it is our duty to support them constructively,” says Dr Gajanan Dange, president YOJAK Centre for Research and Strategic Planning for Sustainable Development.
Dr Dange is very serious on promoting such innovators across the country. He has conducted a study of the problems frequently faced by them. “These innovators need technical guidance on design, material to use and effective combination of material and cost reduction ideas to refine their innovation. They also need financial support. Bank linkages are needed to increase their production. Since they lack knowledge of lab to market process, they need training regarding standardisation, authorisation, market based production, etc,” Dr Dange added.
It is necessary that at this juncture when we are talking about Ever Green Revolution, we need to call for societal support to such grass roots innovators. “Center for Promotion of Appropriate Agriculture Mechanisa-tion is need of the hour. Such Centres are required at each agro ecological zone identified by the National Agricultural Research System (NARS). This Centre can act as a catalyst to promote appropriate technologies related to mechanisation in agriculture. The Centre proposes to involve all necessary stakeholders like government, farmers groups, CSR groups, non-government organisations and interested individuals to develop platform to support these innovators,” says Shri Kapil Sahasrabuddhe, vice president of the YOJAK.
Apart from it, efforts should also be made to prepare literature especially in local, regional languages about such implements. The literature can include small films, technical designs, pamphlets, presentations etc. YOJAK is planning to establish such Centre’s in different agro-ecological zones with the help of like-minded individuals, groups or CSRs. n