Groundnut Digger/Turmeric Digger/Garlic Digger

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Innovator Details

Sanjay Tilwa (31), a farmer and a manufacturer of agriculture implements, has developed a groundnut digger to dig out, uproot and clean ground nuts. His father is a retired school teacher and mother a housewife. Other members in his family include his wife, son, brother and sister. Talking about his childhood, Sanjay recalls that he did not do well in studies primarily due to lack of proper guidance. He later went to Junagadh where he completed his B. Com, taking on occasional jobs to take care of his expenses. In 2003, after his graduation, he returned to his village and engaged himself in farming. However, his dream was to deal in agricultural machinery. Later, with financial support from a relative, he set up his firm, Akshar Agro Engineering, in Rajkot.

Innovation Details

Sanjay has five acres of cultivable land where he primarily grows groundnut. Working in the field, he realized how difficult and time-consuming it was to dig up the groundnuts. He discussed the issue with other farmers who also said that they had to incur losses due to the high cost and limited availability of labor to dig out the groundnuts. 

It was sometime in the year 2007 that Sanjay decided to come up with a solution. Initially, he developed a hand-operated plough; however, its efficiency was low and the device itself was labor-intensive. He then went on to develop a tractor-operated plough; however, this too had its limitation in that the groundnut pods either got broken or left in the ground. Working persistently, he was finally able to develop a prototype in 2009, which he modified to add two wheels under the conveyor for vibration. Finally, the machine was able to do what it was designed to. Sanjay recalls that the entire period of experimentation was a trying one and that he had to constantly swim against the tide to successfully culminate his journey. He also acknowledges the support of his elder brother and one of his friends in motivating him towards a successful solution.

Sanjay’s innovation is a tractor-mounted, PTO-powered machine with a telescopic propeller shaft, suitable for tractors of 35 HP and above. It can dig out and uproot groundnuts from the soil. The harvesting blade (V shaped) of the machine is used to uproot the groundnuts. The blade is hardened by treating in oil at a very high temperature to make it suitable for work in different kinds of soil. It has an adjustable width and with variable penetration angle. Once uprooted, the conveyer belt conveys the groundnuts from the ground level to a higher level. During the process, the belt keeps vibrating, as a result of which the pods get cleaned of the attached soil. The collection box then opens to form the bed for groundnuts to dry. As the machine is heavy, wheels are provided at the rear to reduce the load on the tractor. Though the productivity of the machine depends on the type of soil, on an average, it can harvest about 3 to 4 Veega (0.4 Acre) per hour. In comparison to other alternatives, this machine not only mechanizes the digging but also undertakes cleaning and drying as well. Other alternatives commonly used are single offset beam digger and manual labor. In the latter case, three to five persons are required to pull out the plants, which have already been dug, and then clean the groundnuts, that is, remove soil from the plants. With the single offset digger, digging is done mechanically and subsequently, the pods are collected manually. This machine saves considerable labor, operating time and cost of operation compared to conventional methods. Moreover, this machine can be used in different kinds of soil. The testing of the device was done at CAET, Junagadh Agricultural University, Junagadh and the results were found to be appreciable. The price of the machine is Rs. 95,000 – (Ex-factory India packaging). The price does not include transportation cost, taxes etc. 

NIF felicitated the innovator with a National award in the Seventh Biennial Award Function of National Innovation Foundation. In 2019, Sanjay received marketing support from GIAN and SIDBI under MVIF (Micro Venture Innovation Fund). 

Technical Specifications

  • Fuel Consumption – 1 lit/h 
  • Prime mover – 35 HP PTO Tractor
  • Weight of Device – 374 kg 
  • Digging Efficiency – 98% 
  • Effective Width of cutting – 1250 mm
  • Effective Depth of cutting – 100 – 120 mm 

Status of Innovation: Mr. Sanjay Tilwa has managed to sell a few units of his groundnut digger. The product has received appreciation from both experts and farmers, pointing to a good potential in the market. While working on the ground digger, Sanjay realized that he would have to diversify as this machine had a season-based demand. Accordingly, he developed another innovative tool – the reversible ploughs, which are also attached to the tractor. There are different variations of the plough, including manual, machine, hydraulic operated and a few more. He began selling these a few months back and has managed decent sales. Presently, Sanjay is actively engaged in fabricating and improving the digging machine, which he plans to make suitable for multiple crops.


Gramin Navonmesh Protsahan

Gujarat Grassroots Innovation Augmentation Network (GIAN) and Small Industries Development Bank (SIDBI) are working on a project “Gramin Navonmesh Protsahan”. The project aims to strengthen the innovation ecosystem and provide support to innovations from and for grassroots across the country. The selected projects get support for investment funds for stimulating commercialization. The support is provided in the form of a soft loan with a 5% interest rate.

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