Agri Business

RuKart, start-up floated by IIT Mumbai alumni, comes up with low-cost farm innovations

Subramani Ra Mancombu Chennai | Updated on September 08, 2021

A vegetable cooler, a foot-operated pump and system to keep away animals change lives of small farmers

Mumbai-based agri-tech startup RuKart Technologies, founded by three IIT Bombay alumni, has come up with three innovative solutions that can not only change the life of rural India but can ensure their economic growth.

According to RuKart Founder and Chief Executive Officer Vikash Jha, the startup is working across States such as Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Odisha to take these solutions to the doorsteps of the rural people.

Popular solution

One of the most popular solutions offered by RuKart, which has caught the fancy of the rural people, is the “Subjee cooler” or vegetables cooler. This is a farm-based storage that keeps vegetables and flowers fresh for almost a week without using any energy. However, the cooler has to be watered once a day and it also acts as a natural ripening chamber.

This on-the-farm structure is built to work like a mud pot. The cooler that comes in various sizes is structured to have a temperature that is 5-20 degrees lower than the ambient temperature, while a high relative humidity of 90-95 per cent is maintained. This helps to preserve the agricultural produce for 4-6 days.

Farmers who installed the Subjee Cooler on their farms have fetched at least 30 per cent higher price for their produce compared to others who don’t have such a facility. “The Subjee Cooler helps save 55-55 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) in a year,” says Vikash Jha.

RuKart, founded in 2019, has installed over 300 Subjee Coolers, which is cost-effecting and easy to operatore, across the country and the Centre has recognised its innovation through its Twitter handle @MyGovIndia for its role in transforming the country.

Scalable solutions

RuKart’s offerings to the rural parts are aimed at “developing affordable, robust, and scalable solutions that contribute to poverty eradication, affordable and clean energy, and economic growth. “We have saved 5.8 lakh kg of CO2 in a year through the Subjeee Cooler and another innovation, the Treadle Pump,” says Jha.

The treadle pump uses a technology that can help farmers in reducing risk in hilly districts or areas with forest cover. The treadle pump has suction and a delivery head. The pump, which does not need electricity or fuel, is powered manually and water can be drawn by pumping water by foot.

This brings down the cost for small farmers and saves 477 kg of CO2 in a year. In particular, RuKart helps small farmers to pump water from another innovation, Jalkund which harvests rainwater in farm ponds or a deepened structure using a plastic sheet. The Jalkund stores 6,000-7,000 litres of water in the ponds.

For a small sum of ₹3,500, RuKart offers three simple technologies - the treadle Pump, the Jalkund and a drip kit - which has gone a long way in helping poor farmers in Odisha’s Sundargarh district. Farmers in this district migrate to urban areas in Goa and Maharashtra for livelihood after the kharif season.

Peek-Rakshak

The other innovation of RuKart is an interesting product, Peek-Rakshak, a combination of an artificial scare-crow, flickering LED light, and a sound system. This helps farmers overcome human-animal conflict.

The product helps farmers keep away nocturnal animals such as elephants, wild pigs and wild boars from their fields. Farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Odisha have found Peek-Rakshak effective in keeping the animals at bay.

“The sound system is such that it can be used in large farms too to keep the animals away,” says Jha.

RuKart has installed over 1,000 Peek-Rakshaks across the country in partnership with organisations such as Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), M S Swaminathan Foundation, ASA - Bhopal, NABARD etc.

Women Tech Centre

“These innovations are now helping the farmers’ families to stay back in their village and earn a good sum for their livelihood,” says the RuKart CEO, adding that it also helps farmers in areas that are either hilly or have forest cover.

The important aspect of RuKart’s offerings to rural people is that it brings economical and environmental sustainability to small farmers. Farmers are being trained in organic farming too, which also ensures higher returns for them.

In addition, RuKart is now training women entrepreneurs to assemble, test, and after-sale service of treadle pumps, Peek-Rakshak, Jalkund, and Subjee Cooler. The women can set up “Women Technology Center-cum-Show Room” to offer these services. Two units of the Women Technology Center-cum-Show Room - one in Wardha (Maharashtra) and the other in Sundargarh (Odisha). - have been set up till now.

Published on September 08, 2021

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like