An arecanut peeling machine developed by the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative (CAMPCO) Ltd. will hit the market this May, according to its president Konkodi Padmanabha.
The machine is meant for peeling raw chali (white arecanut), he told The Hindu.
“We will release 25 machines initially next month. Each machine will cost Rs. 75,000 plus taxes,” he said.
Managing Director of CAMPCO M. Suresh Bhandary said the cooperative had written to the Department of Horticulture for providing subsidy to the machine. If the Government obliges farmers might get it at a lower price depending on the subsidy amount. Mr. Bhandary said the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore, had issued a certificate on its performance. According to it the machine was 96 per cent efficient. Mr. Padmanabha said that each machine could peel (output) 45 kg to 50 kg of white arecanut an hour. It has one-and-a-half horse power motor which could be operated with single phase power supply. The president said it produced less dust and noise. Mounted on wheels it could be transported everywhere.
Mr. Bhandary said that using the machine farmers could peel raw chali at Rs. 2 a kg (operating cost). He said that skilled workers demanded up to Rs. 5 a kg for manual peeling till last year. They were demanding a increase of Rs. 2 this year. The operating cost of the machine comprised the wage and electricity cost, Mr. Bhandary said.
Manchi Srinivasa Achar, president, All India Areca Growers' Association, Puttur, said skilled workers were normally demanding up to Rs. 6 a kg and in some cases up to Rs. 7 a kg for manual peeling this year. Mr. Bhandary said the machine weighed about 220 kilograms. Its model name would be Betel 50. Betel stood for betel nut and 50 stood for its maximum capacity of peeling which was 50 kg an hour.
“We have received 13 bookings for the machine,” he said.
The managing director said the machine was designed and marketed by CAMPCO. It had not manufactured it. “We have applied for manufacturing licence,” he said.
He said that once farmers purchased it, CAMPCO would take care of its annual services. He said that although there were many machines in the market for peeling raw arecanut there was no compact machine for peeling chali variety.