Pursuing small ideas, Mr. David Raja Beleau has created a bright future for many village farms across rural India. A new solar and battery powered modification to a simple yet essential machine could very well make lasting improvements on Indian village farming. An upgrade was much needed because the old design had many problems with it. Most farmers use this device to water their crops: A sack to be hung on the shoulders which is connected to a small hose and spray nozzle. There were many slight problems with the first machine that eventually snowballed. Firstly, the sack needed to be constantly refilled with water, pesticides and fuel, which becomes hard for the farmers to carry on their shoulders. It was hard for the farmers to pull the lever down to create the spray because of inadequate craftsmanship and the nozzle seemed to block constantly. It wasn’t until Beleau, Assistant Director of Horticulture Kadayam, made the necessary ‘tweaks’ to the device that the farmers’ lives became a bit easier.
Beleau’s new design featured a battery attached to a solar panel, which takes the place of the fuel engine in earlier models. (Replacing the need for fuel was often a dream come true for the farmers, with the price of oil steadily increasing.) The 12 volt 7 amp battery, if fully charged, has the potential to last for almost 8 hours. The battery can be charged overnight, which would make it easier for the farmers due to the sporadic and short-lived electricity they receive on a regular basis. During work in the fields if the battery happens to run out, the solar panels on the helmet can provide a secondary power source.
The sack on the sprayer can hold up to 16 liters but is designed so that it would be easier to carry. It isn’t only light enough for men to carry, but for women as well. This cut down tremendously on the drudgery that the work entailed.
Because of Beleau’s modification on the sprayer, there is less need for pesticides. The village farmers use wireless light traps to control the inevitable pest problem. Since the sprayer is powered by solar energy, it will aid the system to trap insects from eating and contaminating the farmland. This has cut down pesticide sprays by 50%, thus making the cost of cultivation more affordable for the farming community.
The creation of the improved sprayer has already helped village farming tremendously. The sprayer is much lighter than previous designs, thus making it easier to use.
After seeing Beleau’s demonstration, a farmer from Kolli hills seemed excited about the sprayer and called it a ‘boon’. The modified sprayer has certainly changed the way villages have farmed for the better. With only a few slight altercations, Beleau has created an optimistic new chapter in affordable farming technology.