KOZHIKODE: As their peers prepare for final semester exams, four mechanical engineering students of St Thomas College of Engineering and Technology in Mattannur are chasing a bigger dream — a startup company of their own with a product that could revolutionise the agriculture sector.
P S Abhishai, N Lipin, N Rijun and K Akshay have come up with a prototype of an all-in-one tool, this Vishu season, which they tout as a solution to the major woes of small- and medium-scale cultivators all over the country. It is equipped with necessary tools to help cultivators at various levels of farming from ploughing, sowing, weeding, irrigation, harvesting, milling and winnowing. "It is a common scene in our locality where cultivators are worried about the availability of machines or labourers for harvesting and other processes.
There are many labourers who suffer losses due to the above factors. Our machine is a solution to all their woes," said Abhishai. According to him, no machines are currently available in the market to address the myriad problems of farmers.
“Food is necessary for sustenance. And hence it is necessary to support all farmers and cultivators across the country. Without them, we cannot survive. Hence, we decided to design a machine that would address all the concerns of the farming community,” said P S Abhishai. The budding engineers held discussions with farmers to understand their problems. They found that a majority of farmers in the state and country own only a small plot of land.
“Hence, for them, sourcing machines or hiring labourers for various farming activities are not feasible,” said Akshay. They learnt that a farmer who owns around 10 acres has to invest an average of Rs 28 lakh to earn about Rs 35 lakh in five years. “It is sad that a even after working hard and investing a huge sum, a farmer is able to eke out only a meagre profit. Our machine will help them,” said Abhishai. According to him, the farmers can use their machine to trim their expenditure a lot. “Using our machine, a farmer can cultivate 10 acres for just Rs 6 lakh.
The cost reduction is Rs 22 lakh, which is a huge profit,” he said. “At present, there are separate machines available in the market for ploughing, harvesting and other purposes. Each machine costs about Rs 1.5 lakh or more. Ours is a multipurpose machine that could be available for Rs 2 lakh,” said Abhishai, adding that the machine takes exactly the same amount of time to do the various activities compared to the ones available in the market. In a big boost, the Kerala Startup Mission has shortlisted the idea. “We have received a mail confirming this. Now, we have a last round where we want to show our product,” said Abhishai. The prototype was prepared within a month.
“It was because of our team work,” said Abhishai. “We had submitted the idea for our final year project work. But some of our professors advised us not to pursue the project as it would take a lot of time. But when they realised how serious we were, everyone helped us.” The prototype was prepared at Lipin’s workshop. “It was a laborious process,” he said.
“We didn’t have much time. It was college and work alone. There were many days when we had to work till 3 or 4 am. But we are happy.” They can’t wait for the exams to get over. “We have already applied for a patent,” said Lipin. “Once the exams are over, we will start a company of our own. We have a lot of plans.”