Yog Panjarale from Maharashtra’s Nandurbar has always seen his father wake up at odd hours to farm. In a region where electricity supply is erratic and often only available at night, this has now become part of his father’s routine.
Farming is a 24×7 job and crops need irrigation. Sleep would have to wait.
The 15-year-old boy from Talode village was pained to see his father Dr Suryakant wake up at night three times a week and ride 6 km away to his farm, only to switch on the motor and enable irrigation.
An opportunity to ease Dr Suryakant’s situation arrived in 2020, when Yog started taking online coding lessons during the COVID-19 lockdown. “I had free time and decided to develop additional skills. After finishing the course, I felt I could use what I had learned to help my father,” he says.
Yog developed a device and an app that would allow his father to operate a water motor remotely, without having to step out of the house. The device is designed to operate on a mobile app that uses a cellular network to communicate and obey commands at one’s fingertips.
Saving lakhs of litres of water
“My father was making a half an hour round trip to press only one switch. Moreover, the family members worried until he returned from the farm as there were chances of snakes or other animals attacking during the night,” Yog tells The Better India.
Yog says that he spent Rs 4,000 to buy raw material and electronics and build a device. Then, he connected the device with the switch of the motor. To operate the same, he coded an app – Farmer Helper.
The app enables the user to switch on or shut the motor, schedule timings, and operate lights in the motor room.
This move has not only given Dr Suryakant peaceful nights, but also helps save water and electricity.
Dr Suryakant says, “I used to switch on the motor at 9 pm or later when electricity was available and did not return to switch off until morning. The crops need water only for two to three hours, but the water kept running overnight.”
He adds that the 8 hp water pump releases 1,20,000 litres of water an hour. “But with low groundwater level, it lifts 40,000 litres. This way, the motor ran for hours, wasting lakhs of litres of water in a month. Moreover, it costs electricity to run the motor overnight. But now, both electricity and water are being saved,” Dr Suryakant explains. “I can also spend more time with my family and not have to keep worrying about crops,” he adds.
Yog’s innovation also became known among friends and relatives, who asked him to make it for them. “Yog has bagged six orders for the device, and it makes me proud that besides me, he will be able to help the farming community at large,” Dr Suryakant says.
However, Yog says there are more aspects he needs to work on. “I want to include more features which will allow measuring soil moisture and temperature. The next step will be to automate it, so that the sensors trigger irrigation when the parameters go below the prescribed limits and maintain optimum conditions for the crops,” he says, adding that then he will be able to market and commercialise it.
Yog says that the Internet of Things (IoT) technology is easing operations in various sectors, and it is time farmers reap benefits from it. “I hope to develop more apps that will help the farmers and benefit the environment,” he adds.
Edited by Divya Sethu