Students innovate to help onion farmers in the country

PUNE: Students from 57 colleges from across 9 states in India recently presented innovative designs for a self-propelled onion harvester in the preliminary round of Technology Innovation Forum for Agricultural Nurturing (TIFAN) held at Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT), Pune. The student teams from engineering and agricultural streams have come up with innovative designs which will assist farmers to reduce problems related to onion harvesting.

The preliminary contest conducted by Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) India will be followed by the final round to be held at Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth in Rahuri in March 2020. The shortlisted teams will have to demonstrate the physically built machines on fields during the final round.

Director at Directorate of Onion and Garlic Research, ICAR Pune, Major Singh, Vice chairman of VIT Bajrangdas Lohiya, HOD of Mechanical department, Mangesh Chaudhari, deputy director for SAE India Western Section Ramesh Pasarija, Director of Asia Technology Innovation Centre, John Deere India, Sandeep Joshi, General Manager John Deere India and convenor SAEINDIA TIFAN 2020, Vivek Joshi and director for marketing at Altair, Rohit Sadgale were present during the preliminary round.

Speaking on the occasion, Singh urged the participants to bring out an overwhelming change in Indian farming conditions. “The production of onions in 2001 was one percent per annum and it increased to almost 10 percent in 2019. However, it is still bringing tears in the eyes of farmers and consumers. India produces over 210 lakh tonne of onion but due to the way it is harvested, we see fluctuations in prices. Also, there is no provision to store onion in bulk. Through such crafts, we can surely reduce our problems, which can ultimately reduce onion prices. We need to upgrade our machines for transplanting and harvesting,” he explained.

Lohiya said, “Such initiatives are very important as they provide opportunities for students to convey and translate knowledge and also remain connected to the rural sector of the country. The students are trying to build a new India in the agricultural sector through digital and eco-friendly technology, which is important for the growth of the country.”


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