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Monday, April 15, 2024

Engineer’s Low-Price Mannequin Helps 8000 Farmers Lower 99% Water Use

Throughout his time as a gross sales engineer in Dubai, Ashwin Sawant met a shopper who was cultivating inexperienced fodder hydroponically for his giant livestock, consisting of over 2,000 animals. This farm left such an impression on him that he selected to go away his profitable job.

“I had by no means seen such a formidable setup earlier than, so I began frequenting the shopper. Observing their work helped me acquire the boldness to duplicate one thing comparable. Recently, I had not been proud of my work in Dubai and was searching for a motive to return again residence,” the 38-year-old Mumbai resident tells The Higher India.

Contemplating hydroponics to be his calling, he returned to his grandparent’s village in Pune in 2011. “The idea of hydroponics was very new again then. Individuals would discover it onerous even to pronounce it — some would time period it hydrophobic and ‘hydrolonic’,” he smiles.

Ashwin harvests 500 kilos of green fodder daily to feed the 105 cows and goats on his farm.
Ashwin harvests 500 kilos of inexperienced fodder day by day to feed the 105 cows and goats on his farm.

With none farming background, Ashwin began to develop inexperienced fodder on the five hundred sq ft of land in Pune. In the present day, he harvests 500 kilos of inexperienced fodder day by day to feed the 105 cows and goats on his farm. He additionally arrange a analysis lab ‘Scientific Hydroponics’ to introduce farmers to the advantages of hydroponics farming.

Altering the sport for Indian farmers

Ashwin factors out that Indian farmers lack entry to inexperienced fodder as a result of it requires giant tracts of land and gallons of water. “In states like Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu, farmers already lack ample water for irrigation. If a farmer owns 800 cows, they’ve to order 60 acres of land to develop inexperienced fodder. Meaning they can not develop another crop on this land, which isn’t economical,” he says.

“However with hydroponics, we will scale back the world and water necessities. With a one-tonne unit that may be put in in a 1,000-sq ft space, a farmer can save not less than seven acres of land. This land might be utilised to develop different crops. Utilizing hydroponics, farmers can harvest one kilo of inexperienced fodder by utilising simply 1.5 litres of water whereas saving 99 % of the water required conventionally,” he provides.

Ashwin helps farmers grow green fodder like maize, barley, wheat for goats, cows, buffaloes, ducks.
Ashwin helps farmers develop inexperienced fodder like maize, barley, and wheat for goats, cows, buffaloes, and geese.

Aside from this, the price of inexperienced fodder is an added woe. “If a farmer doesn’t have sufficient land to develop inexperienced fodder on their very own, they’re pressured to buy costly fodder from the market. The inexperienced fodder grown utilizing conventional strategies prices Rs 8–14 per kg whereas that grown hydroponically prices Rs 2 per kg,” he informs.

Regardless of its advantages of conserving land and water, the principle downside of the hydroponic approach was its costly value. Aswhin says a one-tonne unit prices as much as Rs 16 lakh. “These setups require air conditioners, ozonators, and UV and RO programs. This will increase the price of the unit. I needed to cut back its worth in order that many farmers can undertake it,” he says.

After a number of trials and errors, Ashwin developed a low-cost economical mannequin that value Rs 3 lakh on common. This mannequin may very well be replicated throughout varied geographies within the nation. Ashwin labored on important parameters like temperature and humidity required to advertise the expansion of inexperienced fodder.

To manage temperature, he changed air conditioners together with his ‘fan-and-pad’ based mostly cooling system that makes use of exhaust followers to tug air by way of cooling pads, which then evaporate water to chill the air.

“In summer time, the temperature shoots as much as 42 levels Celsius. To develop fodder like maize, you require a temperature of 28–30 levels Celsius; whereas for wheat or barley, the temperature needs to be 20-24 levels Celsius. This fan-and-pad system reduces the temperature to as much as 20 levels Celsius. It’s designed like a cooler however works like an AC,” he explains.

Ashwin worked on vital parameters like temperature and humidity required to promote the growth of green fodder.
Ashwin labored on important parameters like temperature and humidity required to advertise the expansion of inexperienced fodder.

Utilizing ‘fan-and-pad’ cooling programs, dehumidifiers to take care of humidity ranges, inverters, and stabilisers, Ashwin customises an optimum hydroponics infrastructure based mostly on the area’s weather conditions.

Reaping the advantages of pioneering hydroponics within the area

Up to now 15 years, Ashwin has educated greater than 8,000 farmers and entrepreneurs to undertake hydroponic farming methods. He costs Rs 12,000 for a two-day onsite workshop and a year-long handholding.

“First, we practice them. Subsequent, we customise a unit design for them, and once they implement it, we maintain an in depth watch on their work on daily basis by way of video calls,” he says.

As an example, Pinak Suryavanshi (24) who hails from Maharashtra’s Sangli district, switched to hydroponics farming final yr with Ashwin’s help. “I reside in a area the place we face intense water shortage. In a state of affairs like this, we needed to waste an uncalculated quantity of water to develop inexperienced fodder on a big land. However with hydroponics, we’re in a position to get 500 kilos of fodder day by day by utilizing 500 litres of water,” he tells The Higher India.

Ashwin has trained more than 8,000 farmers and entrepreneurs to adopt hydroponic farming techniques.
Ashwin has educated greater than 8,000 farmers and entrepreneurs to undertake hydroponic farming methods.

Pinak, who grows maize fodder to feed 10 buffaloes and 1,200 hens, says it value him Rs 1.25 lakh to arrange the system.

Moreover coaching folks on organising hydroponic fodder programs, Ashwin additionally affords session and set up providers throughout India and in nations like Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. With this, he has been in a position to clock Rs 2 crore in income final yr. This yr, he tasks an earnings enhance to Rs 10 crore.

“After I got here again to Mumbai, my household was shocked at my resolution to give up my job, the place my wage package deal was value Rs 25 lakh every year. For eight years between 2011 and 2019, I hardly earned any earnings from my hydroponics enterprise. Furthermore, I invested Rs 25 lakh — some from my financial savings and the remaining loaned from my relations. It is just previously 4 years that I began incomes a revenue from this work. However I loved the work that I put in all through these years,” he says.

“This can be very satisfying to see that at this time, folks in India are as fascinated by hydroponics as I used to be again then,” Ashwin shares.

Edited by Pranita Bhat; All photographs: Ashwin Sawant.

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