Pragya Singh |

Rice Transplanter for Small Farms

Guide Praveen Nahar
Sponsor National Innovation Foundation
Keywords labour intensive;paddy cultivation;seedling preparation;systemís approach

This project focused on developing a manually operated Rice transplanter for small scale Indian paddy cultivators. Since more than 80% of Indian rice landholdings is less than two hectares, there is an urgent need to develop farm machineries for highly labour intensive farm activities, as the labour availability is declining rapidly. The challenge was to design this transplanter, fulfilling the 3 basic requirements for small segmented paddy farmsóeconomically viability, technical feasibility, and socially acceptance.

A systemís approach was adopted for proper understanding of rice cultivation methods and identifying the loopholes at both product and systemís level. This approach helped in concept generation, system application, technology, and platform approaches. It involved studying and analysing the existing cultivation system in terms of the seedling preparation and transplantation of seedlings to the field. This was followed by a visit to IIT Kharagpur for studying designs of rice transplanters exhibited at the campus.

Research helped redefine the project brief and focused on developing a simple machine/equipment which used standard parts and could be repaired at the village level. The different farming/cropping systems of paddy cultivation were analysed including, the constraints which mechanical intervention could alleviate. The study also brought up the urgent need to facilitate interaction between engineers, designers, marketing professionals, and manufacturers. The final design was low cost, easy to manufacture, and locally repairable. The design used locally available power sources, material and technologies to help easy maintenance.

For fabrication of a working prototype, the design concept went through a thorough makeover and the machine was further simplified in terms of mechanisms, materials, and aesthetics. The cost of the machine was kept low by using simple engineering and readily available materials without compromising on the efficiency and quality.
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