THREE FARMERS of Halvad taluka of Morbi district have jointly imported a groundnut harvester from China to provide rental services to groundnut growers in the area and also to introduce a new harvesting technology to farmers.
Jitendra Makasana, a farmer of Charadva village in Halvad taluka and his friends — Nitesh Sanghani and Pankaj Sanghani — from the neighbouring Sarambhda village drove the new giant machine to Sarambhada from Kandla port on September 12.
The machine is operational after getting provisional clearances from the regional transport office (RTO) of Morbi. Nitesh and Pankaj harvested groundnut in their farm and the trio have rendered their services to around half-a-dozen farmers before rain halted harvesting.
The machine, which cost Rs 27.5 lakh, landed at Kandal port in the last week of August and was there for two weeks for customs clearance. The machine can suck bunches of groundnut crop left for drying, threshes it and stores in a tank. It also stores straw or groundnut stems and foliage in a different tank. Both the tanks can be tilted through hydraulic jacks to unload their content in a tractor-trolley, the farmers said.
“Groundnut threshing is labour-intensive and time-consuming. With conventional tractor-powered threshers, threshing can only start at around noon as there would be some moisture in bunches of groundnut even after days sun-drying and would require at least a dozen labourers. Such threshers can only thresh around six quintals of groundnut per hour. The Chinese machine can thresh groundnut even with some moisture… It also eliminates the labour involvement and can harvest up to 20 quintals per hour,” Makasana told The Indian Express.
He said that they learnt about the machine by watching videos on Youtube. “In Halvad, farmers sow their groundnut in May or early June as irrigation water is available in Narmada canals or groundwater sources. Therefore, the harvesting starts in early September, the time when it continues to rain and therefore, speedier harvest is the need of the hour. We are confident that local threshing machine manufactures will be able to develop similar machines by studying the one we have imported,” Makasana, who has studied till Class 10, said.
Gordhanbhai Patel, a retired airman of the Indian Air Force and his son Ajay who run Bharat Engineering Works firm in Jasdan town of Rajkot district have developed a prototype mobile groundnut thresher (MGT) and have been testing it on fields for a year. In MGT, bunches of groundnut have to be fed manually while in the Chinese machine, this is done automatically. However, the tractor-powered MGT will cost around Rs 5 lakh when it is available in the market, says Gordhanbhai.
Makasana, 38, leases around 16 hectare land and grows groundnut in Kharif season, and wheat, cumin and chana (gram) during Rabi season. “This machine can also harvest chana and chickpea. We plan to approach developers in Punjab to tweak our machine and make it compatible to harvest wheat also,” he added.
“We borrowed money to purchase the machine. We shall avail a loan after completing formalities and are hopeful of making the investment good by offering our machine on rent,” Makasana said, adding they are charging rent in the range of Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 per hour.
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