1. Success Story

From Rags to Riches, Rickshaw Puller Becomes Farmer-Entrepreneur and Earns Rs 65 Lakh Annually

M Kanika
M Kanika
Dharambir Kamboj with his Multipurpose Food Processing Machine
Dharambir Kamboj with his Multipurpose Food Processing Machine

Dharambir Kamboj was in his early teen years in the 1970s when the financial hardships of the family stopped him from studying. Hailing from the village Damla, in Yamunanagar, Haryana, he then looked after his family’s farm & herbal plantations. But, that was not helping him earn enough to support family needs & the medical treatment of his ailing mother & sister. He continued working in his farmland for a few years but that didn’t improve his financial condition. 

My mother succumbed to her illness. My sister needed the treatment to survive but we had no money. My daughter was born during the same time & I was in dire need of money to even make ends meet” said Dharambir Kamboj.

The man was struggling to meet basic needs at one time is now selling his patented machines to about 5 countries & making an annual revenue of Rs 67 lakh.

From Rags to Riches – Dharambir Kamboj

He moved to the National Capital in the early 80s to find a job. But, without a degree, his efforts were in vain & he took up odd jobs to feed himself.

When I could not find anything, I started ferrying people in a Rickshaw in Khari Bawli area of Delhi

He noticed that some of the passengers, he used to ferry was paying hefty amounts of money for buying the processed fruit products from the local market of Delhi. That surprised me”.

He caught sight of products that were made from fruits, such as puddings & jams, which were sold at a high price. This phase of life helped him to understand the booming market demands for herbs, fruits & extracts.  

He Began Experiments on Organic Farming & Set-up Farming Laboratory

He then continued his profession as a rickshaw puller, until he met with a road accident in 1987. He was badly injured & chose to come back to his village & resume farming. But, though of fruits & extracted products being sold at hefty prices in Delhi stayed with him & he began his Research.  Over the years, he began experiments related to organic farming & later on set up a small farming laboratory on his land.

His innovative work in Mushroom Farming, Vermicomposting & other farming methods won him many accolades. His farming of strawberries & other rare fruits in the fields of Haryana gave him further recognition.

In 2004, he got an opportunity to visit Rajasthan through the Horticulture Department of Haryana. During the visit, Dharambir interacted with farmers to learn about the Aloe Vera crop & its extracts for obtaining medicinal value products.

And, after returning to his village, he was looking for ways to market the Aloe era & other processed products as lucrative ventures. In 2002, he met with a bank manager, who educated him about machinery required for processing food products, but quoted Rs 5 lakh for machines

Dharambir said that “The pricing was exorbitant but, I didn’t give up with the thought of developing machine-in-house. After an investment of Rs 25,000 & an effort of over eight months, my first prototype of Multipurpose Processing Machine was out”.

Creating a Social Impact

Designed & developed by Dharambir’s inputs, the Multipurpose Processing Machine has gained widespread recognition & fame as a first-of-its-kind, user-friendly machine, portable that can be used for various functions such as pulverizing, steaming, mixing, pressure-cooking & juice/oil/gel extracting. It can process more than 100 varieties of herbs & fruits.

He got a patent for this machine buys the National Innovation Foundation.

By selling these machines pan-India & across 15 countries including Italy, US, Australia, Nepal, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Dharambir supports fellow farmers & rural micro-entrepreneurs to get the better profits by processing fruits & herbal crops grown by them.

He has organized workshops & training programs on how to operate machines for more than 7,000 people across the country. Out of these, more than 4,000 were women.  

Challenges & Way Forward

Covid-19 was one of the biggest challenges that Dharambir faced. He said that “At this time, the support that came in from Powering Livelihoods, a CEEW-Villgro initiative was helpful. The financial support helped us to manage our operations & mentorship helped streamline our business plan, make machines more efficient & increase our production capacity”.

Dharambir is now looking to scale up within India & also abroad. He aspires to see his Food Processing Machines in at least 100 countries n Future.  

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