From being a rickshaw puller in New Delhi to becoming an organic farming expert and an innovator, it has been an amazing journey for this farmer from Damla village of Yamunanagar district of Haryana.
There was a time when Dharamveer Kamboj could not even afford to pay for his daughter’s school fees. “I spent about two years as a rickshaw puller. Unfortunately, I met with an accident and had to return to my village. As I was bedridden for months, my wife had to face lot of hardships,” he says.
After he got well, he did not want to go back. He started to do organic farming in his village.
During his childhood, he used to help his mother while collecting herbs and was aware of the healing properties of medicinal plants. So he decided to plant aloe vera and stilia on a large scale, besides starting a nursery of medicinal plants.
But there was a problem. There was no way to process the yield into useful products. He needed a multipurpose food processing machine…
His invention of Multipurpose Food Processing Machine has changed his entire life. He is now also exporting this machine and running a food processing plant at his village quite successfully providing employment to rural women. He is also awarded by National Innovation Foundation.
With his limited resources, he struggled for over eight months to design and build the first prototype of a cost-effective multipurpose food processing machine.
This portable Multipurpose Unit which is capable of processing a wide range of natural herbal products like Aloe Vera, Amla, Chilly, Fruits like Apple & Tomato, and Flowers like Gulab and Chameli to extract Gels, Juices Pulps, etc as desired. He has been awarded Rs. 5 lakhs from President Panarb Mukherjee.
“Last month, I got the opportunity to give a demonstration of this machine to our chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda. He was very impressed with my innovation. I have now been appointed as one of the board members at the Hisar Agricultural University. It is a great honour for me. Even President Pratibha Patil has asked me for a food processor,” says an excited Dharamveer.
Dharamveer spent most of his time experimenting even during his school days. He used to take part in science exhibitions in his school. He had once made an emergency light too.
Hailing from a poor family, this was not accepted or expected of him. His father wanted him to study hard and help the family. Though he passed the tenth standard, he did not study further.
His father was a farmer who also had a flour mill and a jaggery processing plant. Dharamveer used to assist his father.
After his marriage to Shyamudevi in 1986, life became more difficult. He had additional responsibility but no extra income to support her.
“I was forced to go to Delhi and work as a rickshaw puller. There was lot of pressure from my family due to our financial problems. It was a tough life, as I could not earn much either. My daughter was just a few months old and it was tough to be separated from my wife and child,” he says.
While in Delhi, he found out that herbs and medicinal plants had good potential. But farmers at that time did not get a good price for these products in the village.
nce he recovered from his accident injuries, he decided to stay back in his village. He attended a training programme in the village development society to learn more on improving agricultural practices for six months.
He interacted with farmers and experts in the agricultural sector and took training in organic farming as well. He visited the herbal gardens in Champaghat and the National Park in Jabalpur to learn more about plants, their uses and biodiversity.
“When I started my experiments, people used to tease me. They never took me seriously. Even my father thought that I was just whiling away my time when I was working hard and carrying out various experiments,” says 46-year-old Dharamveer.
Remarkable among his farming techniques was the cultivation of mushroom on sugarcane waste. The waste, which was otherwise burnt, was put to good use and there was a record production of mushroom.
His biggest assets were positive thinking, hard work and a desire to learn.
You can send an e-mail to Dharamveer at email@example.com; Mobile: 98960 54925