Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
Ashok Gyanoba Jadhav, a resident of Chinchner village in Satara district of Maharashtra has come up with an inexpensive and innovative way to remove weeds from the farming fields.
Jadhav, 71, who turned to organic farming after his retirement in 1999, was troubled by the extensive growth of weeds in his two-acre farm where he grew sugarcane, soybean, turmeric, tomato and other seasonal vegetables in an organic manner. “Since we don’t use chemical fertilisers when growing veggies organically, excessive growth of unwanted plants is a huge issue. Weeds not only eat up the space but also interfere with the growth of plants as they consume soil nutrients as well,” he says, adding “hiring labour comes costly”.
Jadhav then started looking for alternative ways to resolve the issue. He initially created a bicycle de-weeder, but it could only cut weeds along the periphery not those grown in between the crops.
“Looking for solutions, I visited many agriculture exhibitions but couldn’t find an implement that could serve my purpose,” he says.
So, in 2018, he decided to develop one on his own. He took two iron rods, bent each at its ends and joined the two with a thin metal wire of 8-10 inches. He also put a metal pipe as a handle to move it. Manually pulling this device, he was able to cut out the weeds. However, this device was not very successful as often the metal wire broke due to thick stems of weeds or became loose and didn’t cut them. “Also manual pulling put a huge strain on the shoulders,” he says.
Jadhav didn’t lose hope. He kept on experimenting with it, refining the device. A year later, he was able to come up an efficient agricultural implement that could do the job easily.
A simple device that works wonders
New & improved device
The new improved device uses cable wires from two-wheeler brakes in place of the metal wire. To make it lighter and easy on shoulders, Jadhav replaced the metal handle with bamboo.
Click here to see how it works
“The device can do the job of 10 labourers, and much more efficiently at that, and it just costs Rs 400,” he says.
So far, Jadhav has sold over 3,000 of these devices to farmers in the surrounding areas. For this, he is all thanks to Marathi actor Sayaji Shinde, who, he says, helped spread the word. “Shinde ji belongs to my village, and he only shared the info on social media, after which many people approached me for buying it.
Initially, Jadhav made each device on his own, but as the demand grew, he hired people. He now has five people and turns out 60-70 devices per day. “Orders are coming in from not just various states of India but abroad as well,” he says, adding, “I am glad I am able to help other farmers.”