Khandbara is a village in the Nandurbar district of Maharashtra, close to the Maharashtra – Gujarat border. An agrarian village, the primary product of the village is paddy, and for years, the villagers were selling unprocessed paddy to traders and millers.
This was because there was no rice mill in the Khandbara village. The residents of the village had to travel at least 35 km to get the paddy cleaned. The economics of transporting the paddy to get it cleaned was clearly not attractive, and farmers had little choice but to sell unprocessed paddy at lower rates.
In 2010, an initiative to increase the farmers’ income was being explored by Dr Hegdewar Seva Samithi, an NGO, through its agriculture-focused arm – Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK).
After studying the economies of Khandbara and its surrounding villages, the Kendra advised the farmers to form a Farmers’ Cooperative Society. Avenues to add value to the basic produce were explored, and the KVK undertook studies to evaluate the most cost-effective means to achieve the same.
With an outlay of Rs 1 Lakh, the KVK approached Padgilwar Corporation – a farm equipment manufacturer that has been working with small farmers in Maharashtra for over 60 years.
Padgilwar Corporation successfully innovated a small-scale rice mill that can be transported easily from village to village, and run on basic electricity.
The company successfully developed the product within Rs 40,000, as against the Rs 1 Lakh it was allotted. The USP of the mill was its small size and ease of use.
Instead of buying the mill outright for itself, the KVK and PagdilwarAgro Industries decided to give the machine on rent to an unemployed villager’s family, and also trained them in its usage.
It has proven itself to be a win-win situation for all the parties concerned. The villagers are now able to clean their paddy without leaving their village cluster, and able to realize Rs 35 per kg, instead of uncleaned paddy at Rs 12 per kg.
The Mobile Rice Mill rental is at Rs 500 per year, and in addition to cleaning charges, the mill renters are also able to sell the husk that the cleaning process generates as waste – thereby providing employment and sustainable income to an erstwhile unemployed family.
Industrial rice mills require acres of land and use technology imported from countries like Japan and China.
It is heartening to see such innovative solutions being developed in India that can be used to tackle India specific issues better.
The Padgilwar Corporation is keen to replicate this success across India and has indicated that the product can be customized for different crops like wheat, millets etc.
You can find out more by visiting their website.
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