With the aim to reduce cultivation problems faced by onion farmers, teams of engineering and agricultural engineering students from 57 colleges across nine states presented innovative designs of a ‘self-propelled onion harvester’ at TIFAN (Technology Innovation Forum for Agricultural Nurturing) 2020, held recently at Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT), Pune.
The preliminary contest, with the theme of ‘Self-Propelled Onion Harvester’, conducted by SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) INDIA Off-Highway Board, will be followed by the final round, which will be held at Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (MPKV), Rahuri in March 2020. The shortlisted colleges will demonstrate the machines on the field.
Speaking at the event, Dr Major Singh, director of the Directorate of Onion and Garlic Research, ICAR, Pune, urged participants and the engineering fraternity to bring out an “overwhelming change” in Indian farming conditions.
“The production of onion in 2001 was one per cent per annum, and increased to almost 10 per cent in 2019,” he said. “However, even though India produces over 210 lakh tonnes of onion, due to the way it is harvested, we see fluctuations in its prices. Also, there is no provision to store onions in bulk. But through such crafts, we can….ultimately reduce onion prices. We need to upgrade our machines for transplanting and harvesting,” he added.
Bajrangdas Lohiya, vice-chairman, VIT, said, “Such initiatives are very important, as they provide opportunities for students to convey and translate knowledge, and stay 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 country’s growth.”
“Such competitions exhibit the skills…of the students, which helps in resolving problems faced by farmers, while improving the agricultural sector,” said Krishnat Patil, general manager, John Deere India, Pune.