1. Success Story

Automatic Agri-sprayer made by 15 year old Girl is helping Betel nut Farmers

Sangeeta Soni
Sangeeta Soni

Supari, known as Areca nut or betel nut, has a great commercial value. This tropical nut is used in India for direct consumption and also in some religious practices. Many farmers in Kerala, Assam, and Karnataka are involved in cultivation of hardened woody fruit for years. However, this occupation is not so easy going for many of them.

Leader of agronomy division at the Indore-based agritech startup, Gramophone, Fahim Hussain said some words on this. He said, “From non-availability of fungicides, lack of labour resources, to difficulty in containing pests, the supari farmers in India are struggling to get a good yield year-on-year. Insects like mites, spindle bugs, and tender nut drop generally destroy the plants and lead to diseases like Koleroga. So, there is a growing need for better technological inventions to assist the farmers.”

This story of Fifteen-year-old girl, Neha Bhatt from Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka starts from the point when she witnessed one such issue that the farmers were facing in the region.

But, different from many of her age, she started to find a solution for these suffering farmers. Since 2017, she used to observe betel nut farmers spraying a fungicide known as “Bordo Mixture,” containing copper sulphate, lime and water.

Neha said, “The Bordo mixture was being applied scientifically to protect the crops from fungus and mire. However, the farmers were diffusing the mixture using traditional steel fabricated gator pumps that requires a lot of manual pressure. I observed that the whole process was involving heavy labour cost and still proving to be inefficient.”

After three years of research, experiments, and interaction with farmers, Neha developed an automatic agri-sprayer for them.

The machine contains an Arduino-based level detector, pressure release valve, and overcharge protector, and is able to reduce human intervention, time and, money.

A 10th class girl, Neha received the third prize for her invention in the “CSIR Innovation Award for School Children, 2020.” She received a certificate from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the cash price of Rs. 30,000.

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