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    November 18th, 2017adminAgriculture, Business & Economy
    Kadaknath chickens are famous because their feathers, skin, blood and flesh are all black

    Kadaknath chickens are famous because their feathers, skin, blood and flesh are all black

    Three Kadaknath chickens were the cynosure at the annual Krishi Mela held at the University of Agricultural Sciences on Friday. The arrival of these rare chickens was doubtful until the last minute. And when they arrived, everyone, including the farmers who came to the mela, could not stop clicking photographs of these black beauties.

    Kadaknath are famous because everything from their feathers, skin, blood and flesh is black in colour. They are native to only one district of Madhya Pradesh and are reared by the Bheel and Bhilala tribes there.

    Grown up Kadaknath hens normally weigh one kg and cocks can weigh up to 1.5 kg. The hens lay 80 eggs annually.

    Protein content in this breed is 25 per cent higher and it also boasts lower cholesterol content. Kadaknath chickens also have 18 amino acids and vitamins including B1, B6, B12, C and E. But their biggest claim to fame is their alleged aphrodisiac properties.

    The mela attracted farmers in their thousands on the second day on Friday. The mela is on till Sunday. Many new technologies introduced in agriculture sector are also on display at the mela.

    Equipment such as coconut and areca nut dehusker machines; sunflower, maize and groundnut decorticators have attracted farmers as present day agriculture is facing shortage of labour.

    Apart from farmers, professionals who are interested in agriculture were in attendance.

    “The mela will definitely help farmers as all information regarding introduction of new technologies will be available here. Such melas will help those who are planning to venture into agriculture,” said Chandrashekhar, a farmer from Chamarajanagar.

    source: http://www.bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com / BangaloreMirror.com / Home> Bangalore> Others / by Bangalore Mirror Bureau / November 18th, 2017

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    Alyia Phelps-Gardiner Krumbiegel   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

    Alyia Phelps-Gardiner Krumbiegel | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

    Following a report in The Hindu about the crumbling state of Krumbiegel Hall, Alyia Phelps-Gardiner Krumbiegel, Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel’s great granddaughter, expresses her displeasure over the neglect of the historical structure.

    In her letter to The Hindu, Ms. Krumbiegel writes about how her forefather realised that he had found home when he first touched Indian soil at the age of 26. Excerpts from the letter:

    My great grandfather was a master at economic botanyencouraging the exchange of plants and seeds. He continued this at Lalbagh Botanical Garden. His very last planning assignment for the Indian government when he was 90-years-old was to plan the Rajghat memorial gardens (New Delhi). Royalty protected him when the British saw an enemy in every German. He gave Karnataka so much.

    The lecture hall which he spent so much time in was renamed Krumbiegel Hall in his honour. Which now brings me to the sad state of how Lalbagh (authorities) have treated a building named in honour of one of the five superintendents who made substantial differences to Lalbagh and Bangalore.

    Was Krumbiegel Hall a heritage building or was is it not a heritage building? In 2013, it seemed to be a heritage building.

    I really have heard it all ….. assurance that it was under restoration. Broken promises.

    ‘Whatever he touched he adorned’ is written on his tombstone. But, a man who gave so much to the country he found a home in – he always wanted independence for India and was never afraid to voice these views while he lived and breathed India — his life’s work is slowly being wiped away to be memories in the wind.

    Krumbiegel Hall runs deep in my veins. I’m very hopeful that the department will recognise that Krumbiegel Hall needs to be rebuilt with the original frontage restored and reinstated once again.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / November 16th, 2017

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    Lalbagh Botanical Garden. (TOI Photo)

    Lalbagh Botanical Garden. (TOI Photo)

    Bengaluru :

    Lalbagh Botanical Garden in Bengaluru is hoping to create history on December 9, when ten thousand high school students will stand still as trees and hug each other.

    Under the ‘My Tree, My Life’ programme, students from classes 8, 9 and 10, across 60 city schools, are being trained and taught about the environment and the importance of trees.

    On the day of the event, students will first be taught the basics about trees, types of trees, how they grow, their reproduction, among others things. After that, they will form a human chain and stand still for two minutes.

    “The aim of this programme is to make children aware about the environment. In addition, Lalbagh will get special recognition. While joining the Guinness book of records, information about Lalbagh’s birth and growth will be recorded,” said Dr AN Yallappa Reddy, Chairman of the Environmental and Parks Technical Committee.

    The event, which will be recorded by officers of the Guinness World Records, is being organized in association with the state’s horticulture department and the Rotary Club. The programme will be headed by Dr Reddy.

    Entry to the garden will be restricted between 10am and 12 noon on the day of the event.

    “The police and traffic departments have assured us of all help,” officials said.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Bangalore News / by Vijaya Karnataka / October 23rd, 2017

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    September 19th, 2017adminAgriculture, Business & Economy
    Raju and Geetha at their stall in an exhibition. The stall displays various aspects of beekeeping. photo by author.

    Raju and Geetha at their stall in an exhibition. The stall displays various aspects of beekeeping. photo by author.

    Honey is both the nectar from flowers and a term used to express endearment for someone’s sweetheart. The twain have combined more seamlessly for G Raju, an ace beekeeper from Harati village in Kolar district. What began as a labour of love years ago has turned into a lifetime passion. Travelling across the State, he maintains over 700 beehive boxes in farms, gardens, orchards and backyards.

    Honeybees demand nothing from the beneficiaries except some space where their industriousness could blossom uninterrupted. And in turn, they help the farmers increase the yield through pollination.

    Raju became interested in bees around the turn of the century while working in an apiary in Punjab. Back in Karnataka in 2001, he rented a house in Bengaluru and placed some beehive boxes in the green surroundings. Bees began to hover around and he saw the potential for adding more boxes. A session of training in Bhagamandala in Kodagu led him to take beekeeping as the main source of livelihood. He decided to place beehive boxes in different regions and began persuading farmers to install boxes in their farms.

    Today, he maintains these boxes in places like Hiriyur, Kadur, Birur, Vijayapura, Nargund, Chitradurga and Bengaluru. He extracts 10 to 12 tonnes of honey annually and sells nearly 500 boxes per year. In a standard beehive box, the brood chamber has eight frames suspended from the roof. Generally, a beehive box seller would supply only four frames that would carry the parts of combs attached to them. This allows bees to build their combs in the remaining four empty frames.

    Raju says that a beehive box can ideally yield 30 kg of honey in a year in rural areas. The farmers can extract honey every 20 days while in urban locales, these boxes may yield honey just thrice a year. Yield is generally high between November and March, as this is the flowering season.
    Sunflower has come to be a major crop in farms right from Tumakuru to Vijayapura. In Birur, Kadur and Chikkamagaluru, where coffee estates abound, the bees mainly draw nectar from coffee flowers.

    In the beginning, Raju used to sell the honey to Coorg Honey and Wax Producers’ Cooperative Society at Virajpet. Later, he set up his own honey filtering unit in Bengaluru and secured Agmark certificate for the bottled honey. While he supplies honey to retailers in various towns and cities, he also sets up a stall in events like Lalbagh Flower Show and agricultural fairs.

    Acknowledging his achievement in the field, he was felicitated at GKVK recently. A tonne of honey fetches him nearly Rs two lakh. He says, he spends nearly 20 days of a month in the fields and farms across the State, creating awareness about beekeeping and providing farmers the initial training.

    His wife Geetha is a constant companion in his pursuit in disseminating information on beekeeping. Their knowledge and consummate skills in beekeeping make them almost a mobile encyclopedia on apiculture. G Raju can be contacted on 9494695937.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / by M A Siraj / September 18th, 2017

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    Bengaluru:

    When four youngsters took the stage at the India Innovation Summit on Thursday, the packed hall greeted them with thunderous applause. From a 17-year-old girl who sowed the seeds of her venture in 2015 to a 21-year-old village lad who has gone the extra mile to help distressed farmers, the innovators shared their journeys and success stories at the two-day meet organized by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

    This app tracks baby’s mental, physical growth

    “When I was in class six, school authorities told my parents to get me enroled in a special school. I was 11 when they realized that I was suffering from dyspraxia, a motor disorder caused by damage to the brain. By the time I stepped into class 10, I became an ace coder,” said Harsh Songra, founder of My Child, an app. Featured twice in the Forbes India 30 Under 30 list, he’s been a TedEx speaker too.

    Founded in 2015, the app helps parents track the child’s mental and physical development and unusual symptoms from birth to two years. “Today, we connect to over 200 mothers across 140 countries in a month to help them understand their children’s development stages and identify signs of a disorder, if any. The app uses artificial intelligence algorithms. I have also started a content page — We Included — which narrates the tales and travails of the disabled across the globe and sensitizes people,” said Harsha.

    Harsh Songra, 21, co-founder, My Child

    ——————-

    A platform which hones communication skills

    While chasing the IIT dream, Siddharth Pandiya realized that he was doing no value-addition by becoming another computer engineer. “I left the rat race and started something which I realized is so vital today, a debating platform. My parents always wanted me to develop communication skills,” said Siddharth, who is preparing to join University of California, Los Angeles.

    The teenager who just completed PUC from Greenwood High School is the founder of Debate for Change, a forum supported by Google. An avid debater since the age of eight, Siddharth’s aim is to make schoolchildren discuss varied topics with students across the world, hence enhancing their communication skills. “It’s a voice-based platform. One has to meet certain parameters, like the number of debates, to secure a world ranking,” he said, adding, “I’d rather be an aggregator of skills and find the right people to do the right job than a master of all trades. That’s my success mantra.”

    Siddharth Pandiya, 18, founder, Debate for Change

    ——————

    This initiative hopes to change mindsets, save resources

    Two years ago, when an environmentalist spoke about the impact of wasting resources and degradation of the planet during environment day, classmates Garvita Gulhati and Pooja S chanced upon the idea of a social startup — Why Waste? “The speech got us thinking and we realized we needed to do something,” said Garvita, who was 15 years old then.

    “If we drink water from a bottle at a summit and leave it half empty, 14 million litres of water will be wasted in two days? Our initiative intends to change mindsets. I believe we are all tenants on Earth; if we can leave a house spick and span being tenants, why can’t we do that for the planet? We have to stop wasting resources, which are limited,” she said. As part of the initiative, Garvita organizes campaigns to conserve natural resources.

    Garvita Gulhati, 17, co-founder, Why Waste?

    —————

    A tech tool to aid farmers

    Hailing from a humble farmer family in a remote Mangaluru village, Ajay Gopi started an agriculture startup in 2015. “I have experienced the agony farmers in our country go through. When about 1,500 farmers committed suicide in Karnataka because of crop failure and debt, I decided to make a difference,” said the collegegoer.

    The startup, Teraniru, gives users access to the aquaponics technology, wherein plants grow in soil which sucks the same water in which fish breed. His prototype is functioning since December at the Kaggalipura rural market. “My aim is to do away with middlemen in the agriculture sector. We have to focus on people who contribute to the food chain, otherwise we will not survive,” said Ajay, who is now head of Project DEFY in Mangaluru and a fellow at Ashoka India.

    Ajay Gopi, 21, co-founder, Teraniru

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Bangalore News / TNN / July 14th, 2017

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    July 11th, 2017adminAgriculture, Business & Economy
    Bumper harvest: Avinash Kora of Koppal district has successfully grown drumstick as an intercrop. Photo by Author

    Bumper harvest: Avinash Kora of Koppal district has successfully grown drumstick as an intercrop. Photo by Author

    Avinash Kora, a young farmer from Narasapura village of Yelburga taluk in Koppal district, has successfully experimented with agroforestry. He has planted horticulture and forest species like lemon, guava, custard apple, jamun, red sandalwood, hebbevu and sandalwood in his six-acre farm. The plants are nine months old. Marigold is grown in an area of two acres. A farm pond (30X40 feet) is also constructed in this part of the land.

    There is a gap of eight feet between the rows of fruit plants. Six months ago, Avinash decided to grow drumstick in this area. He sowed the seeds directly on the farm. Almost all the seeds sprouted and grew into healthy plants. Drumstick is a perennial crop and once planted, it yields for five years. In Avinash’s farm, the crop was ready for harvest after four months. Since then, he has been harvesting drumstick once every three days. This is the first season of harvest and he has got a yield of 300 to 450 pieces per plant. Generally, drumstick is harvested twice a year and the harvest season spans over two months.

    With neat packing (10 kg packs) and proper transportation, the produce remains fresh for hours, and thus fetches good price. Proper packing and identifying the right sale point are the other aspects that have helped him reap rich rewards from drumstick cultivation. Initially, he sent the produce to the local market. But since he didn’t get a good price there, he contacted a vegetable exporter in Belagavi after a quick online search. Now he sells two to three tonnes of harvest every week, and money is transacted online.

    “Everything is going on smoothly. Quality produce coupled with proper grading, packing and transportation go a long way in helping farmers get the right price. Hence, it is time we farmers understand that post-harvest management is as important as choosing the right crops and practicing healthy cultivation methods. Also, we should be more enterprising and take the initiative to sell our produce to the consumers directly,” he says. While he has spent Rs 40,000 on cultivation, he has earned Rs 3 lakh through sales in this season.

    This is not the first time Avinash has experimented with minor crops. In the first four months of setting up the farm, he had grown marigold and toor dal as intercrops and earned good money.

    “Drumstick grows well in almost all types of soil. The agro-climatic conditions of this region are suitable for growing drumstick,” says Linganagouda Patil, assistant director of Horticulture Department in Koppal.

    Kishan Rao Kushtagi
    (Translated by AP)

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / by Kishan Rao Kushtagi / July 11th, 2017

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    2,649 bonsai trees from various cities are displayed at the ashram in Mysuru

    Three exhibits at Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Ashram in the city, including the largest collection and display of bonsai trees, entered the Guinness Book of World Records. The certificates of records were conferred and received by Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swami at a function on Friday held to mark his 75th birthday celebrations.

    The Guinness record for bonsai reads as ‘Largest Display of Bonsai Trees.’ It was created at the International Bonsai Conference and Exhibition held in December 2016 when international delegates took part, the release said. During the conference, 2,649 bonsai trees brought from Bonsai Clubs of Mumbai, Pune, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Bengaluru, Mysuru and other cities were exhibited which resulted in the creation of the record, the release added

    The second record was the Bhagavad Gita, at a height of seven ft and a width of five ft, besides a thickness of one ft. All the verses in the book are written in 18 languages, including nine Indian languages (Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, Odiya, Gujarati, Gurumukhi, Malayalam and Tamil) and nine foreign languages (English, Greek, Russian-Cyrillic, Armenian, Georgian, Japanese-Katakana, Korean-Hangul, Arabic and Hebrew).A release stated that the Guinness Record reads as ‘Largest Hindu Smriti’ and the printing of the book took 636 hours in all. It was described as the largest book and has been printed using eco-friendly material. Fourteen people worked on it.

    The third record pertains to the single largest collection of birds in an aviary at Shuka Vana located in the ashram. There are over 2,000 birds drawn from 475 species. The objective of establishing this aviary was to take care of injured and abandoned birds for which a dedicated hospital has been established, complete with non-invasive investigating apparatus. Bird care is provided by trained volunteers and the practice has been ratified by the Animal Welfare Board as confirming to international standards, the release added.

    Visit from Phadnavis

    Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Phadnavis visited Sri Ganapathi Sacchidananda Ashram on Friday and participated in the 75th birthday celebrations of the seer.

    Mr. Phadnavis lauded the spiritual and social work of the seer and his contribution to eradicate discrimination in society. “The swami’s message of compassion is more relevant in the present time than ever,” he said and added that the seer’s knowledge and contribution to the field of music was immense. While other therapies work on the body, music soothes the soul, he said.

    Later, speaking to mediaspersons he lauded the works and initiatives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who completes three years in office this year, and said that the world has realized the true power of India under him.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Special Correspondent / Mysuru – May 27th, 2017

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    Soliga tribal community at MM Hills have been trained to use the invasive Lantana species to make furniture.   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

    Soliga tribal community at MM Hills have been trained to use the invasive Lantana species to make furniture. | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

    Members of the Soliga tribal community on M.M. Hills use the plant to earn a livelihood by making furniture from them

    Behind the innocuous, little, bright flowers that pepper much of the country’s landscape, lies a sinister tale that threatens to tip the fragile balance of the eco-sensitive forests.

    The near-omnipresent Lantana Camara, originally from South America but introduced in the country during the British Raj, has invaded much of the country’s habitats. The “lantana problem” has forest officials stretched to contain the “invasion” that is blamed for increasing forest fires and choking out native grass and tree species which provide fodder for herbivores.

    For the unassuming Mahadeva, 34, however, the “toxic” weed is now a resource to fuel his livelihood. For seven days in a month, he and around 16 others from the Soliga tribal community set off into the forests of M.M. Hills Wildlife Sanctuary in south Karnataka in search of lantana. The plant is uprooted, and the sticks collected in neat bundles weighing more than 30 kg each. The bundles are then boiled and the bark peeled off. In the next few weeks, the sticks are fashioned, bent, nailed, tied and glued on to form furniture — stools, sofas, beds, bookshelves and more — before the process is repeated.

    “It not only resembles cane furniture, but matches it in durability and quality,” Mr. Mahadeva says.

    His tryst with lantana started a decade ago when the concept of lantana furniture first entered the undulating forests of M.M. Hills — a key part of the contiguous forests that now host among the densest tiger populations in the world. Envisioned by researchers at Asoka Trust for Research into Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bengaluru, over 50 villagers were trained since 2004 to use lantana and develop market linkages for the furniture.

    “At the time we started, the tribal community had lost their livelihood as the Forest Department had prohibited the extraction of bamboo. We taught them how to use lantana instead and helped form a society to market the products. Now, nearly 80% of their livelihood comes out of lantana itself,” says Harisha R.P. from ATREE who is coordinating the project.

    For 30-year-old Madu, who has been working with lantana for over a decade, furniture-making has seen him settle down in his village rather than move around in an uncertain search for daily wage labour. “As demand rises, fewer people are going out to find work. Before, we would be affected when drought hits the farmlands. Now, we have work throughout the year,” he says.

    The centres are set to expand, as workers are now struggling to complete an order to make 50 large elephant statues with lantana. “We are guaranteed ₹500 per day, and are even taking labourers for ₹300 a day. This sort of earning is unheard of in our tribal village,” says Narayana, who has taken charge of processing orders.

    Though away from retailers for now, the demand — placed through direct orders only — is soaring, and production is only constricted by the logistics of transporting furniture from forests. At the three centres in M.M. Hills, over 50 types of products are made that eventually make their way to offices and resorts in urban centres.

    Controlling lantana

    While there have been no scientific studies on the ecological benefit of this work, anecdotal evidence suggests that lantana spread may have been contained locally.

    There are now three centres at M.M. Hills itself, and Mr. Harisha estimates that more than three tonnes of lantana is extracted yearly. “Once uprooted, it takes lantana at least three years to come again. This window may give a chance for native species to thrive again,” he says.

    In many patches of M.M. Hills, this “window” is evident. Ravi, a worker at Anehola centre, says during the early years, lantana could be extracted almost at their doorstep. “Now, we have to go 3 km into the forests to find usable lantana,” he says.

    The expensive alternative would be to mechanically uproot the plant, which has become a threat second only to poachers in deciduous forests.

    During the summer, the weed becomes brittle, turning forests into tinderboxes where fires spread with alarming rapidity. The fast-growing, near-drought-resistant lantana dominates the landscape, gradually outcompeting native plants that are crucial cogs in the forest biodiversity. To top off the seeming villainy of the plant, lantana is toxic to grazers and is actively avoided by elephants. The Forest Department states that in Bandipur Tiger Reserve — which is home to over 100 tigers and thousands of elephants, sambars, gaurs and deer — lantana is found in 80% of its nearly 874-sq.km. expanse. The cost of uprooting lantana in just 5 sq.km. has been estimated to be ₹1.8 crore — or, if one were to extrapolate for the entire reserve, more than ₹250 crore for what is still a temporary solution. It is easy to understand why ATREE pushes for this low-cost innovation that deals with two socio-ecological problems in forests: livelihood and containing lantana. So, why not profit through this proliferation?

    Spreading the innovation

    The success of the M.M. Hills experiment has seen the concept spread among other tribal hamlets. Over the years, ATREE as well as Soliga tribals are called to forests of south India to train others in making furniture. In 2009, The Shola Trust helped set up two lantana furniture centres in Mudumalai Forests — where lantana is found in more than 200 sq.km of forests. Lantana furniture is being made in the forests on the foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand; while, a little more than a year ago, 70 persons from four tribal hamlets in forests of Siruvani Hills near Coimbatore were trained by Amrita University.

    “This is just in the training phase now, but there has been considerable success. Just through exhibitions, we have sold ₹1.7 lakh worth of furniture already. We just can’t keep up with the demand,” said Maya Mahajan, Associate Professor, Centre for Sustainable Future at Amrita University. The university plans to expand this to other hamlets in the region, hoping to capitalise on the increasing demand from tourists.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Mohit M Rao / M.M Hills (South Karnataka) – April 29th, 2017

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    April 30th, 2017adminAgriculture, Business & Economy

    MilletsBF30mar2017

    Named Sresta Karnataka and Siri Karnataka, they aim to cater to the growing demand for millets

    In a first of its kind, Karnataka has launched its own organic and millets brands to cater to the growing demand for millets. Sresta Karnataka (for organic produce) and Siri Karnataka (for millets) were launched by the government along with various organic federations in the State during the National Organic and Millets Trade Fair 2017 here on Saturday.

    The brand names can be used only by those farmers who are certified or under the certification process for their products, Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said during the launch. “While many farmers have already shifted to organic, they will be watched for three years so that there is no chemical residue found in their soil, and their products are organic as per regulation norms and global standards,” he said. Only after three years (IC 1, IC 2, IC 3) are they certified fully organic, as Karnataka has “the most stringent certification norms” compared to other States, he added.

    Siri Karnataka was selected keeping in mind the richness of millets to human health and wellness.

    The organic brand created for the regional federations is Sresta Karnataka. The brand-name was selected keeping in mind the importance of organic farming practices to nature, the environment, and ecology. Indicating that the move will facilitate organised marketing of these quality food items, the Minister said farmer groups will be trained on grading, packing, and quality aspects.

    “This is a big step towards taking products from farmers to consumers for direct linkages,” he said. Brands — Siri Karnataka and Sresta Karnataka— were launched by 14 farmer federations representatives along with industry leaders Varun Berry, MD, Britannia Industries, Sanjay Malpani, VP, Future Foods, Hemanth Mallik, CEO- Foods, ITC, Sheshukumar, Big Basket, and Varun Gupta,CEO, Pro Nature. Next gen food startups, big organised and progressive retailers can get in touch with the organic cell that is running this programme, who will facilitate the transaction.

    The fair is organised by the Department of Agriculture, Karnataka State Agricultural Produce Processing and Export Corporation Limited (KAPPEC), State agricultural universities, and the Jaivik Krishik Society.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Special Correspondent / April 30th, 2017

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    Rural entrepreneur Keshava A. runs a factory in Puttur taluk of Dakshina Kannada that employs 50 people.

    Rural entrepreneur Keshava A. runs a factory in Puttur taluk of Dakshina Kannada that employs 50 people.

    Keshava, who is visually challenged, has sold one lakh ladders

    Keshava A., 41, is popular as ‘ladder man’ in rural areas of Dakshina Kannada district. Lightweight foldable aluminium ladders designed by him help even women and children climb the tall areca palms or harvest pepper from climbers on tall trees. Not many know that he is visually challenged.

    Mr. Keshava was the star attraction for scientists from different parts of the country at the ongoing Agricultural Science Congress here, where he has set up a stall.

    “I dropped out of college while doing PU as my vision was affected owing to glaucoma. Now, 90 per cent of my vision is affected and I cannot see anything clearly even if it is very near to me,” said Mr. Keshava.

    Pursuing his dream

    The vision problem, however, did not come in his way of pursuing his dream of helping farmers climb tall areca palms. “As a person from the farming family, I was witness to the problems of farmers because of lack of skilled labourers who can climb areca trees. Hence I designed a lightweight ladder which can not only stretch for 40 to 50 feet, but also have a firm grip on the ground,” he said. He has so far sold over one lakh ladders.

    About his vision problem, he said, “When I started my enterprise, I was able to see the objects if they were very close to me, but my vision deteriorated in the course of time. It is not an obstacle as I have continued to innovate and also improvised the ladder models.”

    He has a full-fledged factory in Puttur taluk of Dakshina Kannada which manufactures a range of farm equipment, including ladders, mango/coconut harvesters, sprayer extensions, and arecanut huskers. He has employed 50 people and registers a turnover of about ₹3 crore a year. “According to me, disability is actually a psychological issue and not a physical barrier,” said Mr. Keshava. He is now trying to motivate his 10-year-old son who too is affected by vision problem.

    The head of the Agricultural Engineering Department of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, said, “He is the real hero as he has been successfully operating his enterprise despite being visually challenged.”

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by B S Satish Kumar / February 23rd, 2017

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