IMoT’s Founder Ramsundar speaks with Rahul, Director of Greennow about its innovative product Plantbox. The Plantbox is a round, 20-inch-wide container crafted from polypropylene. Rainwater and condensation collect in the box’s chamber, where water gets trapped. As the plant grows, its roots reach deeper and deeper into the ground, eventually finding their own water source. After that, the box can be removed and can be reused.
First, what is the intention behind creation of Plantbox ?
My intention behind the creation of Plantbox is simple to build a self irrigation system and at the same time, it should be cost-effective as well.
Can you please eloborate us how the Plantbox works?
The Plantbox is designed to support the seedling during its critical first year.
Plantbox provides water to the Plant, while stimulating the development of a healthy and deep root structure in this way, Plantbox produces strong and independent trees, which do not depend on external irrigation and can survive in extreme conditions. The Plantbox consists of a water tank that is filled twice during the survival period. It is only filled with 15 liters of water once every 6 months. The water is transported to the tree in a spaced and controlled way by wicks. As the reservoir gets empty overtime we can fill it with water again or it collects rainwater through the lid and lid make sure water from evaporating
Has any study been conducted that it saves water to upto 90 % ?
A testimony was given by CRIDA (Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture) and we have Planted a few saplings with the help of Plantbox in KVK Hyderabad.
Who are your target customers – Individual growers, Environmental NGOs or corporate gardening ?
Right now we are concentrating on Individual growers but we are in talks with the Government and NGOs.
Now a days mass tree plantation activities take place, but survival rates are very low. What are the reasons for this according to your experiences ?
The problem is not the lack of rainfall, but the time of rainfall. In some locations, it rains for 1 month, and it remains dry for 11 months. If the wet period is too short to allow the young roots to reach capillary water, the sapling (young tree) dies. If the wet period is long enough, and the roots reach capillary water, the sapling can survive. If we supply the required amount of water during the early stages – when the tree is still young and its roots have not grown deep enough to reach capillary water – then trees can grow virtually anywhere. Forest creates by itself, the right conditions to stimulate and aid growth. Trees create a different and unique microclimate where they grow – i.e. they provide shade for other plants; they attract animals that distribute seeds; the soil becomes looser and richer, and it receives organic matter which is better able to hold water and nutrients. An environment slowly forms in which many different plant and microorganisms can grow. Nature has always done this without our help – changing a bare rock into rich soil.
Have you patented it ? If not what are the legal and bureaucratic hurdles faced by innovators in getting it done.
We have filed for the Patented but it takes some time.
Finally, how’s the innovation ecosystem in the environmental sector? How do you welcome the present day youths towards startup and Innovation particularly in this green sector ?
It’s super. Everyday is a challenge to meet different people to take their feedback. Look, we have to work hard every day and innovations that are useful can always be accepted but patience is the key to wait for the right moment.