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CSIR-CMERI develops affordable solar-powered battery based sprayers to tackle water crisis in agriculture

  • CSIR-CMERI develops affordable solar-powered battery based sprayers to tackle water crisis in agriculture

    In the 21st century, one of the most important subject of discussion is the water crisis.

    Infact, this has become a rallying point in many countries including India. Many new techniques have been discovered or revisited in order to stem the problem.

    Agriculture, which consumes around 70% of Water, for irrigation purpose, is the most vulnerable sector of the Economy owing to this crisis. To address this issue there has been discussion on implementing solar pump in almost every farmland. CSIR-CMERI has developed solar tree of capacity 1 Kwp, 3 kwp, 5 kwp, 6 kwp, 7.5 kwp and 11.5 kwp,(which is now the Largest Solar Tree in the world).

    Apart from solar pumps, CSIR-CMERI is working on methods to reduce water consumption required for irrigation. Initially, drip irrigation was considered but later it was realised that drip irrigation is not affordable for marginal to small farmers, who are the major stake holders of Indian Agrarian scenario. Those farmers use manual sprayers costing just a few thousand rupees.

    As per the available the knowledge, pesticides play very big role in increasing crop productivity, but large amount of pesticide sprays is wasted due to lack of appropriate machinery, and soil, water and air become polluted. Due to such harmful effects of pesticides, there is an increasing pressure to reduce their use and make their spraying more efficient. To make efficient sprayer, there is need to understand science of surface tension, viscosity, wettability, air drag, dynamic pressure, particle size, many such contours. CSIR-CMERI developed two variants of battery operated spray systems one for “marginal famers” and other for “small farmers”. Back Pack Sprayer, having capacity of 5 litres, is made for “marginal farmers”, while the Compact Trolley Sprayer having capacity of 10 litres, is made for “small farmers”.

    These sprayers are equipped with two separate tanks, flow control and pressure regulator to handle different water requirements of the crops, target/site specific irrigation, maintaining appropriate dilution of pesticide/fungicide to control the pest, creating water based micro-roughness of leaf surface, maintaining soil moisture levels in a narrow range, and weed control.

    The systems functions on Solar-Powered batteries, thus enabling its usage even in energy and power deprived agricultural regions, thus reducing dependence on fossil fuels. The developed sprayers are simple to develop, easy to learn and implement, therefore will help to overcome water crisis faced by Indian farmers.
    Prof. (Dr.) Harish Hirani, Director, CSIR-CMERI, said “These couple of variants can bring a revolution in the sphere of Precision Agriculture by reducing usage of Water in Agriculture. This revolutionary technology will help in creating agricultural avenues even in arid and semi-arid regions, as the Water scarcity will no longer be feared by the farming community. The CSIR-CMERI developed sprayers provide a cost-effective socio-economic solution for both marginalised and small-scale farmers. The affordable pricing profile helps to provide opportunities to cottage and micro-industries in furthering the outreach factor of the technology widely. CSIR-CMERI, through these Sprayers establishes a solid connect between Science & Farmers”.

    The flow control feature of the Sprayers helps achieve multiple levels of Water/Pesticide flow thereby enhancing the flexibility and dynamicity of the coverage area as well as the intensity of the application. The Dual-Chamber design of the Sprayers helps achieve a degree of resource versatility as it allows the system to carry two variants of liquids at any particular instant. As per experiments conducted at CSIR-CMERI, the engaged farmers have informed that it helps save 75% of Water and 25% time-consumption while using the CSIR-CMERI developed sprayers. This design element might help reduce the time consumption for Spray based Agricultural applications, as the farmer need not empty the contents of a single vessel completely before using a different content.

     

    Report By Tapas Bhattacharya


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