Shivamogga: Four students of JNNCE, Shivamogga, designed and built a manually operated Arecanut plucker and sprayer to benefit the arecanut farmers.
Bharath H S, Neelesha N H, Tejas B M and Vinayaka K, designed the innovative machine under the guidance of Dr Basavaraj, Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, JNNCE, Shivamogga, a project that was sponsored by the JNNCE Centre for Agriculture and Rural Technologies (JNNCART).
The objective of the device is to reduce climbing time and dependency on a power source, address the labour problem and reduce the amount of repair and maintenance required.
The device operates on a rope and pulley system. It has two pulleys, two rollers, a spring and a rope.
Demonstrating the device, Vinayaka told newskarnataka.com that, when the rope is pulled, the spring compresses and releases, pushing the device up the tree. “The sharp knife-like edge on the top will cut the arecanuts from the tree and collect them in the pipes attached to the device,” he explained.
To bring the device down, all one has to do is yank on the rope located behind the unit, he added.
The device also acts as a pesticide sprayer. To use this feature, one has to first disassemble the unit by simply removing one bolt. After this, you need to fix a sprayer to the device, he said.
Asked why the students focused on arecanut for their project, Dr Basavaraj said, “During the harvest season, labour is either not available at all or not available on time. Our students have made a sincere attempt to address this problem.”
He added that the device is also very economical as it costs only about Rs 8000. “This price can be reduced further if the device is mass produced,” he said.
About the efficiency of the device, he said that a farmer can harvest ripe arecnuts from a tree in around ten minutes. If a farmer has about 500 trees it will take about two days to harvest, he added.
Asked what the difference is between a person harvesting the arecanuts and the device, Dr Basavaraj said that a farmer can tell whether an arecanut is ripe or not but that is not possible with a machine. “It only plucks the arecanut,” he said.
About the device’s advantages, he said that not only is it economical, but it is manually powered which reduces the dependency on power sources.
So far field trials for the device have been conducted and the team is yet to take the opinion of the farmers about the product. They plan to continue their research and improve the product so it can be used by the farmers.