Visakhapatnam: At a time, young engineering graduates are busy exploring various options in the corporate world with hefty pay cheques, a local lad, Bollem Raj Kumar from a modest background had chosen a path to help farming community. He started offering solutions to farmers for better yields by studying various aspects of farming in the two Telugu speaking states. With the slogan ‘Engineering for agriculture’, Raj Kumar, along with a few like-minded others, developed a solar powered vehicle that is capable of doing different operations like spraying, inter cultivation, seed sowing. The vehicle doesn’t need any other fuel.
Raj Kumar has been invited to attend international Youth Agriculture Summit being held in Canberra, Australia by “Future Famers Network” (FFN) Australia, in August. He is one among the two chosen from India to attend the global summit. He had also recently developed an app that can be used by a farmer to know new techniques and also about the crop cycle from day one to the harvest. The app is under testing and will be available free of cost to the farmers.
“I don’t want any revenue from the App. It will be a free source. In the App, farmers will get timely suggestions as per the crop cycle. The suggestions are generated from the data I have collected since 2012 travelling various parts of the Telugu speaking states. They will also get techniques for better yield. Agriculture is profitable but only when it is triggered with right techniques,” Raj Kumar told this correspondent. To collect the data and understand the agriculture, Raj Kumar at times had to pretend as migrant labourer growing a long unkempt beard as not at all farmers are receptive to an educated youngster.
With a passion towards to do something to the agriculture sector, he had also founded a group Krishi Yatra. The group which has five members when launched has now, 25 on board who continuously try to innovate on agriculture techniques. The group is now busy in bringing out next version of the solar power vehicle. To familiarise themselves with the vehicle, the group also travelled from Vizag to Tirupati in 2013 May for 23 days covering 7 agro climatic zones.
It was while returning from the US an interaction with a senior government employee in May 2011 that a chance meeting on the flight changed Raj Kumar’s course. “I was returning from the US after visiting NASA in 2011 May as part of our college programme. On the flight I met V.N. Gaba who inspired me to look into various sensitive issues like agriculture sector in which much attention is not given in innovation. That interaction had changed my perspective towards life and I started working on the agriculture sector,” added, Raj Kumar, who studied industrial engineering at GITAM University. He is now looking at addressing food security issues using technology, which is what Raj is preparing himself to present at the global Youth Agriculture Summit in Australia.