Mangaluru, June 12, 2019: The video of the farmer’s daughter trying her hand at climbing the areca tree with the help of the machine went viral on social media. Progressive farmer and inventor K Ganapathi Bhat of Komali near Panolibail in Sajipamunnur has developed the machine to allow a human to climb the tree and to spray pesticides or pluck bunches of arecanut.
The acute shortage of farmhands in arecanut plantations motivated a local farmer-turned-inventor to develop a manned machine on the model of a bike, through which one can climb and descend up and down with ease.
The use of the machine was tested on his farm land on a trial basis recently, his daughter Supriya Bhat made a video and shows Supriya using the machine to climb the tree without any problem.
The use of machine to climb the tree has been widely appreciated on social media across the world. “I have been receiving calls even from Singapore, Malaysia and other parts of the country and placing orders for the supply of machine,” Ganapathi Bhat said.
“The machine weighs 28 kg and has two-stroke engine. Wearing safety belt, any person weighing up to 80 kg can climb the tree within 30 seconds just by the press of a button. Similarly, he can alight from the tree by switching off the engine with ease. The use of hydraulic drum with shock absorber in the engine ensures that there is no harm to life, even if the engine suddenly slips to the ground,” explained Bhat.
“The engine runs on petrol. For one litre petrol, one need to use 40 ml engine oil. With one litre petrol, I was able to climb 80 trees and my weight is 55 kg. On an average, a labourer had to be paid Rs 2,000 per day, for climbing and spraying pesticides. On an average, he climbs 35 to 40 trees manually,” said the farmer.
The machine has hydraulic drum disk break. There is a handle on the model of scooter and a brake as well. Along with it, it has indicator to show petrol and oil content. By sitting on one arecanut tree, one can spray pesticides to several trees nearby, he added.
The machine will provide solution to problems by minimising the role of human labour in the operation of spraying pesticides and harvesting the crops.
“I have nearly 10,000 arecanut trees. I have been experimenting on a machine to climb the tree for many years. It costs Rs 75,000. Even women can climb the tree with ease. I am planning to modify the machine to use it for climbing coconut trees as well. Already, many firms had contacted me for manufacture of the machine. I want the machine to help farmers, who are facing acute shortage of labour for activities like harvesting and for spraying pesticide. I want to ensure that the machine undergoes all stringent tests, before reaching the farmers,” he said.
After the video went viral, over 2,000 people had visited Ganapathi Bhat’s farm and witnessed the demonstration of the machine.