Agriculture has always played an important role in the Indian economy. A report put out by the Indian Brand Equity Foundation states that over 58 per cent of rural households depends on agriculture for their livelihood.
Agriculture, along with fisheries and forestry, is one of the largest contributors to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
However, jobs seem to have started shifting away from agriculture. Recent annual surveys suggest a sharp drop in agricultural employment: From 52.2 per cent of total workers in 2012 to 45.7 per cent in 2015. Two successive monsoon failures are a likely explanation.
To address the problems that arise from declining numbers in agricultural employment, A.D. Mohan Kumar, a native of North Kodagu, Karnataka, who is a second-generation farmer, and a graduate of Commerce, decided to find a solution.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, five years ago Mohan developed a machine for dressing chickens. It was a reasonable success. He then invented a spraying machine to be used in coffee, pepper and areca estates. This machine runs on a 100 cc bike engine, which can also be used to lift water.
It was this background and his interest in innovating new technology to better aid farming that led him to design a small ploughing machine for small farmers.
Mohan said that a male labourer is paid Rs 400-450 daily in the district. Small and marginal farmers cannot afford this, and neither can they afford to have bullocks and maintain them. But they can pool resources and buy his machine.
The new machine runs on a TVS 50 moped engine and consumes 850 to 1000 ml petrol per hour. The invention will certainly be useful for small farmers who cannot afford to buy tillers or tractors.
It solves both problems – the expense of labour and the need for small machinery in small farms.
Currently, the machine costs Rs 30,000. But Mohan hopes that the state government will extend a subsidy, which would make it cheaper.