Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Machine helps farmers make money from agro waste

In a boost to produce green fuel in the form of briquettes with the help of agro waste, city-based briquette manufacturer Balaji Bio Coal Energy has developed an uprooter machine. After the firm introduced the concept in the city and nearby villages for free, farmers are able to save their efforts and at the same time generate twice the revenue they used to generate earlier by selling to the same firm.
Among the 170 farmers who are being benefited by the machine is Sunil Shrikhande (47) from Mohpa, Nagpur district. Three years back, Shrikhande used to burn the agro waste generated on his 10-acre farm. He was then told that he can make 1,000 for every ton of agro waste by supplying it to briquette manufacturing units. But after deducting labour charges and transportation costs, Shrikhande was left with barely 200. It wasn't worth it.
The farmer got back to burning the waste. But the next year, when he was introduced to the uprooter machine, he again found supplying agro waste viable. "I just have to make my land available. A contractor enters with his tractor, uproots all the waste, loads it all in his vehicle and gives me the money on the spot," he said, adding that he doesn't have to spend an extra penny now.
Balaji Bio Coal Energy co-owner Ankit Jalan said, "Through this concept, the factory was able to generate 35,000 tonnes this year itself. It has reached places like Katol, Patansaongi, Saoner etc."
Apart from letting farmers generate extra revenue, the concept has also developed self-employment for some villagers. These people act as contractors to whom the firm provides the machine for free. "All they do is attach it to their tractor, collect the agro waste and earn money by selling the raw material to our factory. Until now, seven such machines costing 1.50 lakh each has been distributed to the contractors for free," said Manish Kadu, another co-owner.
"Paying for the transport himself, the contractor reaches the factory. He sells the agro waste to us at 2,000 a tonne," said Kadu.
The idea started from Kadu's own farm who realized that uprooting the agro waste and supplying it to the factory takes away a lot of manpower and efforts. "If it is taking away so much from a farmer, why would he want to get involved?" he said.
He said that he then thought of developing a mechanism which easily uproots the agro waste. Initially his machine used to cut the stem 2 inches above the ground but the latest version plucks the same stem from the root, with the happy side effect of ploughing the field for the farmer automatically.

 Source : Times of India

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