Fitfully spraying water from one end of a horizontal rolling drum while gently tossing soil into it is rather effortless for Ram Babu, who for at least five months clasped palms to press together two-three seeds with soil into spherical balls every day. “When there is a machine for everything, we thought why not have one for making seed balls? Using it, I can make 10,000 balls a day, which is much more than the 100-150 I used to make manually every day earlier,” says Mr. Babu.Taking a cue from Youtube videos, workers of Ahmedpur nursery in Bhopal have improvised a makeshift cost-effective machine they call a ‘jugaad’, inspired by the working of a cement mixer. It has given a leg-up to the Forest Department’s effort to support tribals employed to make organic seed balls, and improve forest cover and check soil erosion on ravine and arid fallow patches, having less than 0.4% cover, in the State. 1.10 cr. seeds droppedThe balls are carried to plantations, where villagers are paid to drop ones having grass variety seeds, one foot apart, and ones having timber variety, at least a metre apart. So far, 1.10 crore seeds have been prepared and dropped across patches in the State. “Unlike loose seeds, the seed balls don’t get carried away by wind or rain, and are not nibbled at by birds or insects,” says P. C. Dubey, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Research and Extension Wing. “We have chosen 65 medicinal, fruit and timber indigenous varieties that will be sown based on locations suitable for them. As the balls are made up of two-three seeds of different varieties, they could also help in improving biodiversity,” he says.