Kerala

Call for innovation in farming technology

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VAIGA expo-cum-seminar draws crowds

Minister for Finance T.M. Thomas Isaac has called for sustained efforts for renovating agriculture technology for enhancing income of farmers.

Speaking after launching the tools for coconut farming developed by the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), at VAIGA (Value Addition for Income Generation in Agriculture) exhibition here on Friday, the Minister asked researchers to make tools for preparing fields, plant management ,harvesting, and processing.

“We have been seeing many models of coconut-tree-climbing machines, but they are repetitions of same technology. Why cannot we conceive something new, say a motorised climber? It is definitely not impossible,” Dr. Isaac said.

Minister for Agriculture V.S. Sunil Kumar promptly followed up the Finance Minister’s suggestion by announcing ₹10 lakh for the best innovation in coconut-tree- climbing machine.

KAU Vice Chancellor handed over the technology of the tools to Minister for Finance who, in turn, entrusted Kerala Agro Machinery Corporation Ltd. (KAMCO) with the responsibility of their industrial production.

The tools released by the Minister include an improvised coconut-tree-climber, Basin Digger, and Coconut Cradle. The climber helps to climb up and down a tree in sitting position in just two minutes and 18 seconds, is relatively safer for use.

The Basin Digger, an attachment to tiller, facilitates digging of coconut-tree basins within seven minutes at ₹38. The cost of digging a tree basin manually is around ₹60. The mechanical digger scores over other methods in terms of time as it can dig around forty basins a day whereas a labourer will not be able to finish more than ten basins a day.

The Coconut Cradle is meant for urban and peri-urban spaces where regular harvesting of coconuts is not feasible.

The cradle collects falling nuts, thereby avoiding their falling over people, vehicles, or structures. The cradles can be lowered and nuts collected in them can be taken out at will. There are mesh-type and net-type cradles.

The tools were designed by the Agricultural Research Station, Mannuthy.

For bananas

Minister for Agriculture V.S. Sunil Kumar also released the Banana Bunch Covering Device. The practice of covering banana bunches is common in commercial plantations, to protect the fruit from pests and birds, in addition to helping the benches retain their shape and colour. Since manual covering of bunches is tedious and time-consuming, farmers were finding it difficult to employ the scientific practice exhaustively.

The tool developed by the Farm Machinery Division of Kelappaji College of Agricultural Engineering under the KAU helps to cover about 30 bunches in an hour.

It is expected that the industrially produced tool can be made available to farmers at a cost of ₹1,000 or less.

The Vegetable and Fruits Promotion Council of Kerala(VFPCK) is entrusted with the responsibility of producing the tool on an industrial basis.

KAU Vice Chancellor R. Chandra Babu said the university was aiming at bringing out machinery, tools, and technologies to make farming an enjoyable and profitable vocation.

“In addition to what we have already secured, efforts are on to achieve more,” he said.

Meanwhile, the four-day VAIGA expo-cum-seminar is drawing huge crowds, including students from across the State.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 7:20:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/call-for-innovation-in-farming-technology/article25854267.ece

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