The rural innovations coming from the grassroots level by the people who actually face the problem can give us solutions which can be cost effective, environment friendly and can also be implemented and adopted for the benefit of people at the same grassroots level quite easily.

P. K. Ravi, a mechanic from Murikkassery, Idukki in Kerala (India) came up with one such innovation – the black pepper thresher, which is helpful for the farmers. He has named the machine as ‘Aurora’.

Idukki district of Kerala has large plantation of Pepper and farmers here face many problems while threshing the spice manually. P K Ravi, having seen this since his childhood, developed an innovative black pepper thresher which was advantageous to the traditional threshers available in numerous ways. Aurora’s advantageous features have already made it popular among the farmers of the region and farmers are also buying it.

Aurora’s Advantages over Conventional Threshing Machine

  • It can be operated both manually and automatically whereas the conventional machines can only be operated manually.
  • This machine can thresh 300 kg compared to 70 kg of pepper in an hour.
  • It can also be adjusted for threshing white pepper, paddy and other grains which were not possible with the conventional machines.
  • The electricity consumption of this innovative black pepper thresher is less than 1 KWH.
  • The machine can reduce the manual labour by half and hence the labor cost also comes down drastically.
  • Both the manual and automatic version of the machine is less expensive as compared to the conventional machines available in the market.

Recognition and Support for Aurora

The Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, Kerala Agricultural University has evaluated the efficiency of this grassroots engineering innovation to be 90 percent with just 2 to 3 percent damage. Moreover, the innovation has also been recognized and certified by the Spices board (Ministry of Commerce and Industry) and has been supported under the board’s subsidy scheme.

Ravi has also filed patent application for this innovation. The machine has also been recognized and awarded by the National Innovation Foundation – India (NIF), a non-profit organization and an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India; in its 5th National Green Grassroots unaided technological innovation and traditional knowledge.

NIF according to its objective is working on making this low cost grassroots innovation – the black pepper thresher (Aurora) available for the farmers throughout the country.

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