Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has developed 746 crop varieties and 146 farm equipment. But, unless these reach the farmers, they cannot be put to good use. Since the university cannot commercialise the technologies and designs, private companies and entrepreneurs should come forward to do so, Vice-Chancellor of the university P. Murugesa Boopathi said here recently.
Launching the Garuda Paddy Power Weeder for commercial use, the Vice-Chancellor said the Agri-Business Development Directorate had been set up in the university to act as a link between the university and entrepreneurs to facilitate commercialisation or incubation.
The power weeder design had been transferred by the university to Premier Power Equipment and Products Private Limited for commercial manufacture.
The cost of the weeder was fixed at Rs. 31,000.
This was in response to the demand by rice farmers to replace the manual weeder as it was found difficult to be pushed in between the rows of paddy.
“There is a possibility of getting 50 per cent subsidy for the purchase of the weeder from the Department of Agriculture Engineering, Government of Tamil Nadu. The Corporation Bank has also come forward to extend loans for the same purpose,” Mr. Boopathi said.
Lamenting that most of the wards of farmers were moving away from farming, the Vice-Chancellor said mechanisation was the only solution for addressing this and also labour scarcity.
“There are 80 lakh farming families in Tamil Nadu. Out of these, 65 lakh are small and marginal farmers possessing very small holdings. Hence, scientists should design and develop machinery that can be used in such small holdings,” he said. Appreciating the equipment that had been developed for sugarcane harvesting, Mr. Boopathi said efficient mechanisation was necessary in cotton, especially for picking.
Coconut tree climber
The next major equipment that was awaiting commercialisation was the coconut tree climber, he added.
Registrar P. Subbian, Dean S. Santhanu Bosu, Director of Research M. Paramathma, Director of Agri Business Development R. Ganeshan, and Chief Executive Officer and Director of Premier Equipment and Products Private Limited A. Rajkumar, were present for the launch.