Nashik-based company Bhinge Brothers specializes in drip irrigation solutions.
The company’s product range includes Online Drip System, Connectors, Adriline, Adritape, Adrilite, Micro Sprinklers, Mini Sprinklers, Micro Sprayers, Foggers, Special Items, Mono cord/poly wire, filters and fertigation, special purpose valves, micro irrigation kit, popup sprinkler and ecoflo pump.
Ecoflow Pump : Ecoflo pump is an irrigation solution for marginal farmers for irrigation of small plots. It is an alternate solution to electric pumps. When asked how the ecoflo pump was developed, Mr. Narain Bhinge, Managing Director, says, “This was a requirement for African countries and such full metal body pumps were being exported from India to such countries for last 3-4 years and had become quite popular over there,” adding, “We then decided to develop a composite pump such that the piston cylinders and the manifold assembly are made from very tough reinforced plastic and the pedals and support frame from similar fabricated steel tubes. This has taken a lot of time and now we are ready not only for the Indian market but also for export.” The launch of ecoflow pump, with demo, was at the Kisan Exhibition in Pune in Decemeber 2004. “It did create a lot of excitement and interest amongst the NGO’s particularly those who are working for the development of the marginal farmers,” maintains Mr. Bhinge.
Sale of Ecoflow Pumps : The ecoflo pumps are priced at Rs.2250 per unit. “This price is the basic ex-factory price without the suction and delivery pipes,” clarifies Mr. Bhinge. When asked how many ecoflo pumps the company sold since its launch, Mr. Bhinge admits, “We had to call back the initial lots sold because of some small problems and this delayed our normal sales.” He however, was quick to add, “We hope to market atleast 10000 pumps this year. Till date we have done mainly seed marketing. We have sold such pumps to a number of NGO’s and institutions, who are evaluating them and then placing bulk orders.” He further reiterates, “This is a necessity at places where there is no electricity. It is the easiest way to pump and transfer water at the rate of 5000 litres per hour. It is the only alternative for transferring water to heights and lengths and in such volumes. Definitely it would take enormous amount of human energy to do so.”
Suitability : According to Mr. Bhinge, the ecoflo pump can be used best with 12 mini sprinklers spaced at 20 ft x 20 ft such that an area of 4800sq ft can easily be irrigated at the rate of 3600 ltrs per hour discharge of water. Regarding maintenance of the pump he maintains, “We have tried and tested this pump in the most difficult conditions and we have found that there is hardly any wear and tear of cylinder pistons. Only the rubber gaskets are to be changed after they are worn out. But this too would have to be done after a long working time – say upto 6 months of continuous working,” adding, “We would also give guarantee for this pump for any manufacturing defect.”
Polyester Cord : The company has also developed another product, monofilament or polyester cord in a factory in Mumbai. Polyester cords are mainly used in fixing of shadenets. “Ofcourse, it has all the other applications besides its usage in shadenet houses due to excellent strength like for example for use in the farms for all tying applications, and also for hanging the driplines above the ground for extending its life,” explains Mr. Bhinge.
Irrigation systems : The company provides irrigation systems for all row watering applications like the green houses, vegetables, flowers, i.e. wherever the entire row needs to be watered perfectly. “We suggest the use of integrated driplines, which have drippers/outlets at fixed intervals of 30-60cms depending on the soil conditions.
[hidepost] For all other applications where the plant-to-plant spacing is above 5 ft we recommend the use of the conventional on line drip system. We suggest mini and micro sprinkler systems for all applications where the entire area needs to be watered evenly and also wherever we need a temperature drop and some humidity. This is best for medicinal plants. Misting systems are to be used for irrigation and fogging for small plants, potted plants, nurseries and shade houses,” elaborates Mr. Bhinge.
Product Demand : Out of all the products Mr. Bhinge says, “Our micro and mini sprinklers are very much in demand for cultivation of vegetables, ginger, onions and all medicinal plants. Our low cost moulded filters are also in good demand. Our mico irrigation kits are very popular amongst the NGO’s all over.” He further adds, “All our online systems are locally very much in demand.”
Drip Irrigation : Talking about drip irrigation, Mr. Bhinge says, “Drip irrigation is popular in the states of Karnataka, Andhra, Tamil Nadu in south and very popular in some pockets of Maharashtra and Chattisgarh,” adding, “The most I have seen where the poorest of the farmers are also using it are in Nashik, Jalgaon and Bhusaval belt in Maharashtra. It is a necessity now due to scarcity of water.” He further says, “Drip irrigation is also eligible for subsidy. The government is promoting it widely through subsidy schemes in state level as well as in centre level. But we are not under the approved list of such subsidy oriented manufacturers as we deal directly with all farmers whether big or small, giving them the right and highly cost effective irrigation system specially designed for them which itself generates more savings than any subsidy along with our very reasonable ex-factory pricings.”
Cost of Drip Irrigation : Giving an estimation on the cost of drip irrigation for 1 acre of land, Mr. Bhinge says, “The cost for drip irrigating one acre of land depends on the type of dripline and its spacing. It varies from Rs.5000 to Rs.50000. The filtration plant is to be kept clean from time to time. Otherwise it does not really need any maintenance. Drip lines do require some acid treatment in case of hard water depositions.”
Annual Business Turnover : When asked about the annual business turnover of the company, Mr. Bhinge maintains, “This is a difficult answer as we are into a big range of products under different group companies. But we have our presence in almost all the nook and corners of our country and also in as many as 12 countries all over the world.
We have been consistently doing 30-40% exports of our turnover.” The company has employed over 50 people in its irrigation production and marketing/installation. “We are putting a full-fledged unit just to manufacture the ecoflo pumps with a capacity of 50000 pumps per annum and with atleast 30 people working,” he adds.
He finally adds, “We would again like to stress this fact that ours is probably the only small scale industry in this activity working directly with the customers. We have already built a large contented customers base, trying to give the best inputs at the best prices and designs and ideas from other customers and most importantly with a complete range of products – total irrigation solution.”