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Updated: September 17, 2009 17:54 IST

Innate curiosity helps a farmer come out of poverty

M. J. PRABU
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Photo: Special Arrangement.
Photo: Special Arrangement.

Experts always advise farmers to go for value addition instead of selling raw material directly, as it earns more revenue to the farmers.

Though not many farmers take up value addition (financial constraints to setting up machinery, lack of governmental support and subsidies are a few commonly cited reasons), those who do it are quite happy.

Take the case of a poor farmer and rickshaw puller Mr. Dharamveer in Haryana, who developed a multipurpose machine for extracting essence from various herbs.

Naturally curious

“Not educated nor technically trained, Mr. Dharamveer’s innate curiosity and inquisitiveness led him to develop the unit,” says Prof. Anil Gupta, Vice Chairman of National Innovation Foundation (NIF) , Ahmedabad.

How did he conceive the idea and from where did he get the money to build it?

“Some years back a bank manager came to our village to promote aloe vera farming. He impressed us with the idea of extracting the gel from aloe vera and explained how the gel fetches a good price in the market.

Income from essence

“He further told us that instead of selling the herbs directly, the essence extracted fetches more income.

“I discussed with him the cost of buying such a gel extractor. He asked me to shell outRs.5 lakh as consulting fee for setting up such a machine. I could not afford such a huge amount and after several days of thinking decided to build one myself,” says Mr. Dharamveer.

After much effort he developed the first prototype of a multipurpose processing machine for extracting the juices and later modified it.

The device, modelled like a big pressure cooker, pulverises and extracts oil and juice from various herbs such as aloe vera, and amla.

Its portability makes it suitable for ‘on farm’ processing, thereby adding value to farmer’s produce, and reducing the transportation and stocking problems.

Being light weight it saves transportation cost of the raw material from fields to processing site and can process about 200 kg of herbal products or fruits in an hour. The cost of the machine comes to Rs. 1, 20,000 (one lakh and twenty thousand. It is easy to operate and is ideal for self-help groups, women farm workers, and unemployed youth in villages by generating employment opportunities.

Mr. Dharamveer has already exported a few machines to Kenya and orders for some more are in the pipeline.

His innovation received the fifth place at the National Competition of Grassroots Innovations and Traditional Knowledge organized by NIF.

“The success of Mr. Dharamveer stems from his curiosity about herbs, which drove him to find new ways of processing them," says Prof Gupta.

Obscure start

Hailing from a poor family with hardly 2 acres of cultivable land, he migrated to Delhi and started life as a rickshaw puller to earn his daily income.

He used to ferry herbal traders on his rickshaw in Khari Bowli area of Old Delhi, where they used to pay hefty amount for herbs.

This amazed him and he would often converse with the passengers and vendors to know about the herbs and the income they could fetch.

In fact, he developed a deep understanding of the herbal market by his regular interaction with several traders who are his regular customers for transporting their herbal goods, explains Dr. Gupta.

For more details readers can contact Mr. Dharamveer, Vill Damla, via. Jagadhari, Yamunanagar, Haryana. mobile: 09896054925.

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