Nagpur-based Vedant Enviro is promoting the raingun concept of irrigation with farmers all our India in a big way.
Vedant Enviro-Agro & Irrigation (P) Ltd. was established – in Nagpur in 1996 by Mr. Arun Bagri, who is
the managing director, after his stint as marketing counsellor with a well-Known Indian company. Vedant is engaged in designing and marketing rain guns in the Indian markets. “We started promoting rain guns as we could foresee the limitations of small sprinklers for irrigation requirement, which consumed a lot of labour and time in being shifted many times. A rain gun is a long-range sprinkler covering about the same area as 8 to 12 small sprinklers as per the models,” avers Mr. Bagri.
He further says, “We are focussing on promoting rain gun concept with the farmers and planters in a big way in India. We also supply other innovative equipments sourced from Italy and other countries like bird scares, automatic reel irrigators, high pressure sprayers, gated pipes etc, apart from designing a complete rain gun irrigation system for the farmer to meet his requirements.” The company also markets tractor PTO pumps to operate rain guns directly, automatic travelling sprinkler reel, machines for spot ground sprinkling, battery operated knapsack sprayers, automatic pressure release piston sprayers, birds scarer and high pressure washers.
The company acquired marketing license from the Italian company SIME s.r.l., which manufactures various models of rain guns. Mr. Bagri claims SIME s.r.l. Italy has more than 50 years of experience in irrigation sprinklers. “We entered into exclusive concessionaire arrangement for Indian market with them for distribution and assembly as well, under the brand name Vedant Italian Rain Guns,” he says, adding, “Sime s.r.l. Italy is an ISO company manufacturing rain guns of various capacity and designs. We have also developed special quick-fit accessories for using rain guns on portable sprinkler pipes, offering a complete unit to the farmer as per his requirement.”
Mr. Bagri maintains that in addition to irrigation, the rain guns have found large usage in landscapes, nurseries and dust-suppression in mines/ industry. He avers, “Rain gun is now being used practically for all crops except for rice and jute.” Adding, “For sensitive crops we have special turbo-rain guns which have fine droplet size management and high uniformity of application.”
Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajastan and MP are the company’s leading markets for rain gun irrigation of the Vedant. “We are now strengthening our marketing team for other states as well,” states Mr. Bagri. He explains, “We first concentrated on progressive states as the concept selling requires many follow-ups and demonstrations. But now with the success in these states the concept will also get spread in other states, where we are short of our marketing efforts.”
The company has a network of distributors and dealers in all the important markets of India. “We have good representation in eight states of India as mentioned earlier and our dealers here stock the rain guns giving demonstrations and service back-up to their area farmers,” says Mr. Bagri.”We installed more than 200o rain guns last year,”he maintains.
Mr.Bagri gives an estimate of the investment required by a farmer to go in for rain gun irrigation for 1 acre, saying, “As our one rain gun can suffice for an area of upto 10 acres, we consider that for a 10 acre farm, the average installation cost comes to about Rs.3000 to 4000 per acre for a portable system. The farmer needs to use his own main PVC underground line with outlets at every 100ft with HDPE sprinkler laterals used both side for shifting the rain gun at desired location. Generaliy a rain gun covers from half to one acre area from one position in 2 to 3 hours depending on the type of soil, season and the crop.”
Comparing the company’s rain gun technology to that of other countries, Mr. Bagri says, “As we import our equipments from Europe they have the same technical standards as in UK or USA.” He further compares the rain gun technology with drip irrigation. “Rain gun technology can be compared with small sprinklers. Drip irrigation is a different concept b~ing used where water is very scarce and plants are wide spread to keep the installation cost reasonable. However, in many instances like in sugarcane farming, we found that many farmers who have installed drip system have replaced it with rain gun system due to comparatively very low installation cost and benefits like cooling and cleaning of the leaves, better nitrogen fixation etc. In sugarcane it is reported that the overhead irrigation increases the sugar content of the sugarcane crop,” he maintains.
Speaking about the mindset of the average Indian farmer regarding the company’s product, Mr. Bagri feels, “The average Indian farmer prefers subsidy on rain gun from the government. But in reality the cost to farmers under subsidy schemes is the same, if not lower, when he purchases from the direct market. This is because the subsidy distribution channel is not caring much about the farmer and this also leads him to accept lower quality material available under subsidy due to certain vested interests.” He admits, “Yes, it is a little difficult to make them use our products. But now the farmers have started realizing that the appearance of cartels under subsidy channels is not giving them the value for their investments.
Progressive farmers have already purchased the rain guns without the subsidy enquiry and have adopted it from the very beginning.” He further adds, “The earlier stage of development of rain gun by Chandrabhu rain gun (developed by Anna Saheb) was inspired by popularity of our rain guns with the farmers. While we appreciate the development of lower cost alternatives, the technology and quality as developed over the years by the masters in the field will always be there as they can create many models with different technical innovations due to their precise manufacturing capabilities.”
Mr. Bagri says, “The main obstacle preventing further expansion of rain gun usage in India is the farmers generally have low head pumps and with further deepening of wells, booster pump sets or new high head pump sets are required to be installed,” stressing, “However, the cost of this replacement to new pumps’ gets compensated with increase in yield, saving in labour and time for irrigation by more than two to three times.”Pointing at the shortcoming of rain gun, he says,’ “Strong wind can affect the spraying pattern, but with the wind direction shifting this problem gets minimized. Strong wind exists for short periods during the day but these periods can be avoided.”
Commenting on the government subsidy, Mr. Bagri says, “If the government introduces the rain guns under subsidy schemes due to pressure from farmers, then the government should ask the manufacturers to adhere to the international ISO standards available for rain guns, as the same is not yet formulated with BIS Indian Standard. The farmers should have the choice to opt for rain guns of high quality if they want to install the rain gun on their existing small sprinkler sets. As many farmers have already the small sprinkler sets with HDPE or ALU sprinkler portable pipes with them, and want to graduate further and install rain guns only, the subsidy to rain guns need not be clubbed to the purchase of complete sprinkler sets with pipes etc.
If government wants, they can include a high head pump set also along with the rain gun for better efficiency of the system. “Mr. Bagri is an agricultural engineer from Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana and has held senior marketing positions in a leading Indian company for many years. “I am from a business family and hence the background also helped to start on our own with reputed foreign company association for introducing the new concept to the Indian farmer,” he avers.