Assam is mainly known for tea cultivation. Along with large tea gardens, small farmers also cultivate tea here. However, it is not easy for these small farmers to make profits from tea cultivation. The biggest reason for this is that they are unable to process the tea themselves and have to sell their produce to other tea factories. Due to which the farmers do not get the price according to their hard work. To solve this problem, a farmer from Assam, Rare Gogoi, decided to set up his own processing unit, but he could not find a processing machine to suit his needs in the market. In such a situation, Gogoi decided to make the machine himself and after many failures, he managed to make a tea processing machine for small farmers.
For this innovation, he was awarded the ‘National Grassroots Innovation Award’ by the ‘National Innovation Foundation’ (NIF) in 2019. 56-year-old Rare Gogoi explained his journey to The Better India.
Rare Gogoi, who hails from Tingkhong in the Dibrugarh district, has studied only up to ninth grade and cultivate tea on their three acres of land. He explains, “Whatever produce came from my tea plantation, I used to sell it to the nearby tea factories. But, for one sack of fresh tea leaves from there, barely eight rupees were found. I always thought of increasing my income. So, I thought that my tea should be processed by itself and for this, I started searching for a machine. ”
However, when Gogoi discovered in the market, he saw that most of the machines were made keeping in mind the large tea gardens. In which a large amount of tea leaf processing is done. These machines were not beneficial to small farmers. He says that he saw some small machines too, but they also did not meet his needs. In such a situation, in 2008, he decided to make machines for himself and other small tea farmers according to their needs.
Many types of machines made
Rare says that he first started by making ‘tea drier’ (tea leaf drier). However, he did not succeed at once. After a number of failures, he succeeded in creating a ‘reciprocating tea dryer’ in 2009. He used a ‘slider crank mechanism’ to make this machine, with the help of which the drawing tray can be moved back and forth inside the machine. It is also named ‘Pull-Push Dryer’ and consists of 14 drawing plates. With this machine, you can dry 20-30 kg of fresh tea leaves in 40 minutes. After drying the leaves weigh about six kg. To dry the leaves in the machine, you can set the temperature up to 100 ° C.
He says that while making this machine, he faced many challenges. However, when he was successful in his work, he was encouraged. Subsequently, he also made other machines used in tea processing. These machines include mini tee steamers, rolling tables, round dryers, compact heaters, semi-automatic dryers, tee breakers etc. He started for himself but, as people came to know about his machine, other farmers also came to him with their problems.
He says, “I have made more than 15 types of processing machines. These include small-large machines used for crops such as paddy, turmeric, and ginger. I have also made a machine to extract oil from agar wood. If there is good demand for the wood oil market. If the farmers who cultivate it, by processing and selling it themselves, will get good profits. So, I made low-cost machines for them. ”
Rare’s aim is to help the farmers and for the last 10 years he has been continuously engaged in this endeavour. Shomeshwar Phukan, a 74-year-old farmer and entrepreneur, says, “I bought three machines for processing tea from Rare Ji about 10 years ago, which are still working well.” Instead of selling our products to other factories, we make our own ‘green tea’ and sell under our own brand name. Apart from other states of the country, my tea is also going to Canada. But the processing of tea became possible only because of these small machines made by Rare Ji. ”
Rare Gogoi has made more than 200 different machines and sold them to farmers. Depending on the machines, their prices range from Rs 40 thousand to Rs 10 lakh. He gives the machines according to their needs and budget to the farmers. This makes it easier for them to process their crop.
Rare has also received honors for his inventions. He received an award in 2019 from the National Innovation Foundation for his ‘Respirocating Tea Dryer’. Henceforth, he is constantly associated with them. To develop their machines on a larger scale, they have also got incubation and fund by NIF. Tushar Garg, scientist at NIF, states that all the machines made by Rare are beneficial for small farmers. If at a lower price, farmers get a machine according to their need, then they are able to do ‘value addition’ to their produce.
Also, the NIF team has also helped him set up a workshop here. In this workshop, Gogoi can work on all his inventions. Also, other farmers or any other person who has the idea of a machine, can also come here and discuss with them. In the end, Rare only says that troubles come in everyone’s life. But, not doing anything by losing or being afraid of them is not the solution, rather you should try your best to change your circumstances. Because good efforts always result in good.
If you want to contact Rare Gogoi, you can email him at [email protected]