Odisha map & taps the farm machinery innovations for increasing incomes

How many pulse producing regions have small dal mills to enable in situ value addition? Just by splitting, sorting and cleaning and using the pulse grain skin for poultry or animal feed, one can in many cases double the farmers’ income. And yet, as I have reminded policymakers many times, we still don’t have a clear targeted policy in place for incentivizing the local farm level value addition? Bharat Chandra Rout, a second pass innovator from Kendrapara was awarded today in Bhubhaneshwar for one such powered machine which processed and sorted dals. The same machine could process a different kind of pulses. Sadashib Manjhi addressed a problem which has remained intractable for a very long time. Millions of women transplant washed paddy nursery in back-bending posture, with feet in water for a week after weeks in the season. The women workers suffer immense drudgery. A country that can send hundred satellites in one launch in different orbits, somehow has learnt to live with this problem unsolved for centuries. Maybe Sadashib’s innovation will alleviate the pain of these workers. Smt Tikam Pangi, Koraput has solved aproblem that makes a lot fo difference to price realization in grains. A gravity led cleaning and sorting machine for different grains. Not all innovations need to be complex to be functionally beautiful and useful. Smt Kadambini Jena, Cuttack, recognized a problem that many of us have observed in grain mandis and also threshing yards. Two people have to hold a gunny bag to be filled with grains to any other material and third person fills it till it is half filled after which its mouth can remain open. She designed a simple

Laxmi dhar Khorda attached a flat disc below the honey bee box preventing lizards and crawling predators. There were many decorcicators to separate seeds from pods-a persistent problem in forest regions. Millions of tribal people still use a thousand year old method of separating seed by hitting these with stone.

How did these innovations get recognised and selected for awards from all corners of Odisha state?

Dr Saurabh Garg, a gold medalist from iima and principal secretary, agriculture had steered a CM scheme for recognising small scale farm machinery. In the first few months, much fewer entries were received. Then the Honey Bee Network not only brought National Innovation Foundation and the department closer but also suggested changing the strategy from waiting for innovators to apply to search them by walking through the villages and going to their doorstep. More than two thousand farm machinery innovations for small farmers and workers were scouted from 30 districts in the next four months by the dedicated staff of agricultural department aided and supported by an equally dedicated team of NIF. Later, three innovators were selected by district level jury from each district. Ninety of these innovators were invited today to Bhubaneshwar to showcase their innovations to a jury comprising outstanding national and regional experts including dean, IIT Bhubaneshwar, detector Nit, and representatives from icar, iari, state agricultural university, IARI etc. the jury was chaired by Shri Subrato Bagchi, founder Mindtree, chairman, skill development Odisha and myself representing the honey bee network.

Dr Vipin Kumar, Director, Nif and dr vivek Kumar offered to not only file patents for all eligible cases but also incubate them, provide support fr value addition, and business development. NIF also offered to set up community workshops at the premises of some of the innovators in the next three months.

It is the first time when farm machinery innovations have been scouted from each District in any state in this manner. Mapping creativity also uncovered the hot spots of innovations for survival, accumulation & sustenance. The largest number of entries were incidentally received from three of the most economically backward districts.

The policy implications of such mapping exercises will be discussed next week. I hope that other states will join this effort of mapping hotspots of creativity by looking for innovations from each district, block and eventually villAge. Such mapping of innovations will have to be matched with similar mapping of unmet needs to induce inclusive innovations by challenging tech youth, grassroots innovators and Msme. India is on the cusp of a creativity revolution.

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