Mangaluru, Jun 17: In wake of the fact that there is a shortage of traditional Areca nut tree climbers, farmers here are finding it difficult to sustain the Areca nut plantation. However, a 48-year-old farmer, Ganapathi, took it as a challenge and invented ingenious bike like equipment (driven by a motor) seated on which a person can easily climb upto the top of vertical Areca nut tree for spraying pesticides and plucking.
Climbing Areca nut tree is considered essential for spraying pesticides in the rainy season and for plucking (harvesting crop) at the end of the year.
Traditionally, in India, the plantation farmers tie ropes around their feet to climb the coconut or areca nut trees, without any safety equipment. Areca tree is generally 100 feet tall in height and stands vertical to the ground.
In the backdrop of fact that there is a shortage of labour while the demand for traditional tree climber is on rise for spraying pesticides, long waiting is taking a toll on their plantation.
The farmers in the area are taking a keen interest in knowing about the ingenious tree climbing bike developed by Ganapathi and are visiting his house here in Sajeepamuda in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada to inquire about it.
Also, videos of Ganapathi climbing the tree on his 'bike' are making rounds on social media and are shared, liked and tweeted.
The ingenious bike made by Ganapathi is not only safer but also increases the work output. While it takes 8 minutes for a man to climb up an Areca nut tree, bike reduces the time to 30 seconds to 1 minute. As a result, a person can climb more trees to do his job.
It is a simple innovation using 2.1 BHP motor (weighing 28 Kg) with two-stroke gearbox, hydraulic drum disc break and two chains to climb up.
However, the climber's weight should be under 80 kilograms. It can make 100 climbs in 1-litre petrol, which saves 4,000 rupees per day.
"This is a long-standing innovation and boon for Areca nut farmers. For the last 5 years, at regular intervals, we have seen many types of equipment come and go in the market. But this equipment is better than those as it takes the person to the top of the tree for spraying and plucking purpose and thus is more accurate. These days there is a big shortage of traditional Areca-nut tree climbers and this is where equipment plays a role," said Rajaram, farmer.
"Whatever efforts the farmers put into cultivating Areca-nut, it all goes down in rainy season due to heavy rainfall. This instrument is a benchmark and by using it one can easily climb upto the top of the tree and can easily come down," he said.
"Earlier spraying using drones and other equipment was not accurate as the person himself cannot climb the tree," said Rajaram.
"Climbing the tree on the machine invented by my dad was a very nice experience. I do not know how to climb but now with the help of this equipment I can easily climb the Areca-nut tree and assist my dad in farming," said Supriya, daughter of Ganapathi.
Dakshina Kannada farmer develops ingenious bike to help farmers