Innovative duo lend helping hand to farmers
The wonder device called ‘Solar Conduction Dryer’, is a food dehydrator that would help farmers to reduce food spoilage and generate additional income through preserved food.
“We call this machine ‘ann rakshak’. Due to economic stress on farmers, a quarter million of them committed suicide in India. The major reasons attributed are low prices of the commodity and post-harvest losses of food,” says Ankit, a final year student of marketing and strategies at Delhi’s Faculty of Management Studies (FMS).
Explaining about the project Ankit says, “Generally, farmers dry up the vegetable or food grains in the sun. Through this machine, the process becomes easy and fast."
Ankit, who has been handling the marketing part of the project says,“ Products like turmeric, ginger, aamla (Indian gooseberry), leafy vegetables, mushrooms, etc are dried in this machine.
Finally, a team buys these processed products at high rate. The difference in price provides economic benefit. Through its marketing channel, the team sells thesefinished products to urban market.”
Interestingly, the patented technology, recognised by the United Nations is five times cheaper, works without electricity and returns the farmers’ investment in just 100 days. It helps the farmers to store their produce for a year and doubles the profit. It aims to empower at least a million farmers by 2020.
“With the help of United Nations, a pilot plant has been set up for farmers in Maharashtra. A cooperative model with the farmers is being conceived. This will allow more farmers to become part of this project and bring this technology to open market.
Also, for commercialisation, women self-help groups are identified. These self-help groups buy solar dryers. A dedicated team provides raw materials to these women, who then process various raw materials into finished dehydrated products,” informs Ankit.
Presently, Ankit, so deeply involved in the project, missed out on the placement procedure in his college. “ I want to make this reachable to a large number of farmers in different States. For the next few years I am totally dedicated to the marketing of this project,” he says.
Both Ankit and Vaibhav have recently won Rs 5,00,000 in the competition 'Power of Shunya' and will visit DuPont Knowledge Center, Hyderabad next month.