Farmers can claim 50 p.c. subsidy on Rs. 10,500 tree climber
A more advanced areca tree climber — billed as safer — was the centre of attraction at the day-long Yanthra Mela in Vittal.
It appeared so user-friendly that president of Central Areca and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Ltd. (Campco), Konkodi Padmanabha, a senior citizen, could instantly learn to use it and climb a tree, though he had difficulty in climbing down.
The equipment comes with two parts or frames — one that is tied to the climber’s body and used by hand on which he can squat after each move up or down and second part is operated using the foot. The climber needs to stand on the bottom frame while operating the upper frame to position it a notch higher to climb up and then squat on the upper frame to move the foot operated part a notch higher. The reverse action will bring him down.
M.K. Kiran of K. Tech, which is marketing the product here, demonstrated the equipment on the premises of the Central Plantation Research Institute in Vittal. He said it is priced at Rs. 10,500 but farmers could claim 50 per cent subsidy from the Horticulture Department.
He told a farmer that a person weighting up to 75 kg could climb areca tree using it. Since the only rubber bushes come in contact with the tree there, no damage will be cause to the tree. Bushes could be replaced when required.
The farmers said they were impressed that the one could rotate it easily around the trunk and that it has inbuilt mechanism to ensure that the climber lands safely in the bucket in case he slips. The belts attached to the climber and the equipment prevent his fall in case of such a slip.
A farmer who watched Mr. Padmanabha climb the tree using the equipment, said he was impressed and that it was worth buying. It comes at a time when farmers are facing severe shortage of labour in Dakshina Kannada. D.N. Venkat of Coimbatore, who made the areca tree climber, was present. He has also developed a coconut tree climber using similar mechanism.
Also on display at the exhibition was a hand-operated sprayer for areca which can reach the height of 40 ft. A standard 30 ft sprayer equipped with mechanism to move its nozzle up or down would cost Rs. 4,000, according to supplier Philips. A vehicle-mounted elevator that helps pluck coconut and carry two person to the required height — costing Rs. 6 lakh (excluding the vehicle) — was also displayed.