How This Farmer Exported His Food Processing Machine To 15 Countries, Logging So Many Sales
Ease of doing business for MSMEs: Dharambir Food Processing was among the six companies selected by the Villgro Innovations Foundation and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) in 2020 under the Powering Livelihoods program to boost India’s rural economy.
Ease of doing business for MSMEs: Haryana farmer Dharambir Kamboj does not have an engineering or management degree from the Ivy League institutes, but he was an inventor enabling rural entrepreneurship and employment for thousands of people. Kamboj, 58, has dabbled in making different machines and equipment to ease the time and effort needed to complete unique tasks. Known for his first versatile portable food processing machine for processing herbs, fruits, seeds and vegetables, Kamboj had his first tryst with the invention in 1975 when he was in sixth grade.
“I first made a smokeless stove. My friend and I used to go to school and work on different experiments. I never had any formal training in designing or making anything. Ever since I was a kid, I thought I was building something unique,” Kamboj told Financial Express Online. Emergency lighting, the design of a drilling machine, the seismic clock, were among some 40 experiments Kamboj has tried so far.
Kamboj had to pull a rickshaw in Delhi for about two years to support his family before a road accident in 1987 forced him to return to farming in his village of Damla in Haryana. In his interaction with farmers during a visit to Ajmer in 2007, Kamboj realized the challenge of processing currants (amla) and extracting rose water from roses.
“I thought of making a machine that could do both with less time and effort. While I made this (food processing) machine, but the quality was not good at first. There were no such machines on the market at that time. In 2012, with the help of the National Innovation Foundation, we introduced a new design and a new model to improve the quality of the machine. Today, say, to extract orange juice, the machine is able to extract around 200 liters of juice in just one hour,” said Kamboj who was only able to study until 10th grade. It took him more than eight months to release the first prototype of the machine.
The machine also acts as a large pressure cooker with temperature control and auto shut-off function apart from other functions such as spraying, blending, steaming, pressure cooking and juicing, d oil or gel. The machine has been patented and validated by the National Innovation Foundation.
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In 2017, Kamboj incorporated his company Dharambir Food Processing Pvt Ltd. Although it has customers in India and around 15 countries, Nigeria, Kenya, Nairobi, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and others, around 16 companies have approached Kamboj to purchase the technology to manufacture machines in exchange for a fee. “But I wanted to do business my way. Sona Koyo Steering Systems (now known as JTEKT India), Patanjali and others had approached us to manufacture these machines,” he added.
Dharambir Food Processing was among the six companies selected by the Villgro Innovations Foundation and the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW) in 2020 under the Powering Livelihoods program to boost India’s rural economy. According to a statement from the CEEW at the launch of the scheme, the Rs 22 crore scheme provides financial and technical support to Indian companies working on clean energy based livelihood solutions. The initiative had also offered cumulative emergency funding of Rs 1 crore to six selected companies to help them weather the Covid crisis.
“We had very less production before this program. He went from three to four machines in a month to 15-20. Our turnover has also increased. Last year, we achieved a turnover of around Rs 1 crore. They (program) helped us with mentorship and guided us on increasing production through means such as solar-powered machines. Villgro also supported us with around Rs 55 lakh during Covid. Thanks to social media, we were able to train several people in the use of the machine and create jobs,” said Kamboj’s son and manager, Prince Kamboj.
The company intends to export its food processing machine to about 100 countries in 5 years and aims to increase its revenue to Rs 2 crore this financial year and to about Rs 10 crore by FY27. So far, Kamboj has sold around 900 machines which have provided employment for around 8,000 people.
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