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YEN FOR INNOVATION: Simon George Palamoottil with the bamboo pole device he has developed.
YEN FOR INNOVATION: Simon George Palamoottil with the bamboo pole device he has developed.

A thin bamboo pole with sprayer fitted on one side and a control on the other side connected to the sprayer’s handle by a metal wire looks like a simple thing. For coconut and arecanut growers in the region facing shortage of climbers to spray plant protection materials against bud rot disease and mite attacks, it is a simple device that can solve a big problem.

Simon George Palamoottil, a farmer at Perumbadavu in the Eramam-Kuttoor panchayat here, who has conceived and made this device, had not felt that it can attract farmers like him from different parts of the region. The device developed by him will cost Rs.40 plus a rocker sprayer which every farmer in the region possesses.

This is not his first ‘invention’ of a device useful for the farmers. Earlier he developed a funnel-type device for filling poly-bags for planting rubber saplings faster than the conventional way. A hanging fibre sheet fixed on a frame that he developed using his own logic and experience can be called a device to protect the farmer from wagging of tail by cows while milking.

His latest invention drew immediate response from farmers in the region when it was demonstrated at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) located at the Kerala Agricultural University’s Pepper Research Station at Panniyur here recently. The dearth of climbers to do spraying is the major problem that the farmers here are facing. Mr. Palamoottil’s bamboo pole device is a cheap solution to the problem as it can spray up to a height of 20 metres accurately from the ground. The total cost of the device including the sprayer will be Rs.150.

His first public demonstration of the device was in the arecanut garden of his friend K.J. Benny at Perumbadavu. It demonstrated that 400 palms could be sprayed in one hour. The additional advantage was that there was no wastage of the chemical being sprayed.

K.J. Thomas, a farmer from Wayanad, who was present at the demonstration at the KVK, made a quick calculation. The ‘Simon’s Device,’ as he called it, could reduce the cost of spraying coconut or arecanut palms on one hectare to Rs.450 from Rs.3,000 that is required if he hired climbers to do the work, he says.

Mr. Palamoottil did not have to take much effort to promote the utility of the bamboo pole sprayer. He would not have thought about the need for such a device if there was no shortage of workers, he said.

“The KVK which is supposed to promote extension of new knowledge produced in agricultural research centres cannot afford to ignore informal need-oriented researches by farmers like Simon,” says KVK Programme Co-ordinator K. Abdul Kareem.

Dr. Kareem says the KVK helped the innovative farmer to register his two earlier inventions at the National Innovation Foundation.

Mohamed Nazeer

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