The traditional style of climbing the Areca nut trees for spraying pesticides and plucking the harvested crop has led to a shortage of workforce and its cultivation, mainly because it was no lesser than a challenge for the farmers of Mangaluru.
But now, a 48-year-old farmer, Ganapathi Bhat has made it easy by inventing an ingenious motorbike. With his invention, a person can easily climb for spraying pesticides and plucking the nuts, up to the top of the tree while just sitting on it.
Climbing the Areca tree often is considered as essential for spraying pesticides during the rainy season and plucking the nuts during the end of the year.
The average height of any Areca tree is 100 feet, standing vertical to the ground, climbing which makes it risky for the farmers. Unable to climb trees, the demand for traditional tree climbers is on a rise. Long waiting for limited climbers to spray pesticides and pluck nuts takes a toll on the plantation.
According to a local farmer Rajaram, they had earlier tried spraying using drones and other equipment which were unable to give them the accurate results. But with this new invention, a person himself can climb the trees for spraying and plucking.
"This is a long-standing innovation and boon for Areca but farmers. For the last 5 years, at regular intervals, we have seen many types of equipment come and go in the market. But this equipment is better than those as it takes the person to the top of the tree for spraying and plucking purpose and thus is more accurate. These days there is a big shortage of traditional Areca-nut tree climbers and this is where equipment play a role," said Rajaram.
Various other farmers in the area are keen to know more about the ingenious tree climbing bike invented by Ganapathi.
They have been visiting his house in Sajeepamuda in Bantwal taluk to inquire about it. Apart from making climbing a safer process the bike also increases the work output as it reduces the time to 30 seconds to 1 minute for climbing while a traditional climber takes 8 minutes to climb Areca nut-tree.
The ingenious bike is a simple innovation using 2.1 BHP motor with two-stroke gearbox, hydraulic drum disc break and two chains to climb up. It can carry a person a maximum of 80 kg. The best part is, it can make 100 climbs in 1-litre petrol and saves 4,000 rupees per day.
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Ganapathi's daughter Supriya, who also aspires to climb the Areca nut-tree said, "Climbing the tree on the machine invented by my dad was a very nice experience. I do not know how to climb but now with the help of this equipment I can easily climb the Areca-nut tree and help my dad in farming."
"We can finish 80-90 climbs per day with this equipped bike," she added.
(With inputs from ANI)