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Updated: May 28, 2010 15:21 IST

How to pluck mangoes with a machine

Staff Reporter
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HIGH-TECH: Demonstration of a mango harvester on at the Indian Institute of
Horticultural Research in Bangalore on Thursday.
THE HINDU HIGH-TECH: Demonstration of a mango harvester on at the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research in Bangalore on Thursday.

Indian prototype gives Israeli equipment a run for its money

Did you know that world over hand-picked mangoes cost more? Local mango cultivators apparently did not. This piece of information, shared with them by H.P. Singh, Deputy Director-General (Horticulture), Indian Council of Agricultural Research, stoked the weather-beaten cultivators' curiosity to examine the rejuvenation and harvesting machinery displayed at the Indian Institute of Horticulture Research here on Thursday.

The equipment, imported from Israel by the National Horticulture Board (NIB), costs Rs. 20 lakh but farmers can have them at a subsidised rate of Rs. 12 lakh.

Israel machine

NIB Managing Director Vijay Kumar claimed the machine's immediate benefits are reduced damage to the fruit while harvesting, easy operation by a single person, higher reach of up to eight metres and being pollution-free as it does not operate on petrol.

“The machine will be handed over to farmers of Kolar for sometime to see how they like it. It will then be passed on to the Mango Federation of Tamil Nadu,” he said.

He said that the aim was to familiarise them with machinery and encourage indigenous designs.

However, its demonstration drew lukewarm response. “It is too expensive and time-consuming. We will be able to do a better job if we just climb the trees ourselves,” said D.V. Ramesh, a mango cultivator from Kolar.

Cheaper alternative

Others were more interested in the machine indigenously developed by the institute's G. Senthil Kumaran.

Priced at a mere Rs. 1 lakh, it is not yet launched commercially, this modest contraption is run by a tractor with a cube-shaped portion that can be elevated. Attached to it is a portable netted cart to hold the harvest.

Earlier, S.V. Hittalmani, Additional Director (Fruits), Department of Horticulture, spoke on the importance of pruning mango trees which can rejuvenate senile orchards.

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