HYDERABAD: While the ubiquitous labour shortage, rising costs, physical fatigue and absence of proper technical know-how often make the process of applying fertilisers difficult for ryots, a 38-year-old farmer from Gudem village in Khammam district has developed a low-cost fertiliser application device to address this issue. Seelam Satyanarayana Reddy’s ingenious device reduces the chances of wastage and physical strain, enabling even distribution of fertilisers in crops like cotton, chillies, and vegetables.
Satyanarayana designed two variants of the device, which allows farmers to apply fertilisers according to the specific requirements of each plant. The device offers three different quantities, ranging from 30 grams to 90 grams, ensuring precise application. Made from PVC pipes, it can hold up to five to six kilograms of manure, making it easily transportable for farmers.
While scientists and philosophers have often commented that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, Satyanarayana came up with the idea when he was studying in Class 10 and observing farm workers manually applying fertilisers near each plant using their hands. Drawing inspiration from pesticide sprayers, he envisioned a similar device for fertiliser application. Recognising the health hazards associated with traditional manual application methods, he aimed to create a solution that would reduce physical strain and minimise exposure to harmful chemicals.
Speaking to TNIE, Satyanarayana highlighted the challenges associated with the handling and application of fertilisers in agricultural practices. The traditional methods employed by farmers and workers, such as using bags and buckets, can have detrimental effects on their health, he says, adding that contamination of food and exposure to the strong smells and carcinogenic agents present in many fertilisers pose health hazards.
Efficient and precise fertiliser application often necessitates specialised equipment, which may be inaccessible to small-scale farmers, he points out. Satyanarayana further emphasises that with his device, labourers can apply fertilisers with reduced effort and time, precisely meeting the requirements of each plant. The device allows for setting the quantity of fertiliser needed for 30, 60 or 90 days, ensuring that it reaches the root level effectively. Additionally, the device’s design allows for the removal of the bolt, enabling the application of vermicompost, dry fertilisers or manure. By reducing wastage, particularly considering the high cost of fertilisers today, this device proves to be a valuable asset to farmers, he comments.
In 2019, Satyanarayana designed his device. Its potential was soon recognised when the Khammam District Collector witnessed a demonstration of the device. Impressed by its effectiveness, the Collector ordered a hundred devices to be provided to farmers through the Agriculture department. Since then, Satyanarayana has successfully sold over 1,000 devices to farmers in various States, including Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. Priced at a reasonable Rs 600, the device has garnered positive feedback from farmers who have been inspired by videos showcasing its benefits.
Satyanarayana says he is hopeful of support from the government, banks or voluntary organisations to expand the production of these devices on a larger scale. With the potential backing, he aims to benefit more farmers and contribute to the agricultural community’s overall well-being.
INSPIRED BY PESTICIDE SPRAYERS
Drawing inspiration from pesticide sprayers, he envisioned a similar device for fertiliser application. Recognising the health hazards associated with the manual application methods, he aimed to create a solution that would reduce physical strain and minimise exposure to harmful chemicals