A model to improve efficiency in agriculture: paddy thresher case study

The need: For paddy farmers who own less than 2-3 acres of agricultural land, investing in large scale combined harvesting technology is not feasible. In remote and hilly areas there is the added constraint of finding labour or transporting the crop to nearby towns, where paddy harvesting technology can be accessed.

Current methods of manual threshing involve beating a stack on a wooden board (as pictured). This process is taxing and time taking. Also, due to the high demand for labor and increasing labor costs, this method of threshing is becoming expensive.

Identifying existing technology: After scoping existing technologies nationally and globally the portable paddy thresher from Premier Magnetos in West Bengal was identified as the most feasible option. It came in a pedal or motor operated version, was portable and was tried and tested in other regions. The next step was to procure the machine and test it in the Karnataka context.

Honing the model: Two farmers were identified and the thresher was field tested and found to reduce time, labour and scattering losses. The main concern was the cost of the product as compared to the use per season. Most farmers had 1-2 paddy harvest per year and threshing takes place for 1-2 weeks in a year in total. Many farmers were hesitant to pay Rs. 18,000 for a machine that they would use only a couple of times a year. However one farmer looked at it differently. He began to rent the machine out to neighboring farmers, in a 50-60 kms radius, for a per day fee. In a matter of two harvests he was able to make up the cost of the machine and wanted to buy another one.

Based on this case we are conducting an extended pilot looking at replication in other geographies as well.
Replicating the process/model: The idea with each project is to develop processes or models that can be replicated in other scenarios and for other products/services. For example, the thresher could be substituted for any other machine or service that could be delivered using the above model. Though at first the cost of a product might seem like a barrier to adoption the right model could make it affordable.


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