Mangaluru: Arecanut harvesting is a very difficult job and it demands immense skills and physical strength in a person. Hence this job was limited to men only so far. However, that era has gone now with Ganapathi Bhat of Bantwal Taluk inventing a new machine ‘tree motorbike.’ Even the women can easily climb an arecanut tree with this.
Ganapathi Bhat, son of Narayan Bhat, a resident of Komale in Sajipamooda village in Bantwal taluk took nearly six years to invent this unique machine. Bhat has installed a gearbox to a 2 stroke engine and also shock absorbers, disk brake and safety lock system. Using this machine, one can climb arecanut tree easily, irrespective of its height. Due to this new invention, Bhat has made harvesting arecanut and applying pesticide to the tree very simple. It has emerged as a solution to the labour problem. The machine is of unisex use due to its simple operating system.
In order to reap harvest from around 90 arecanut trees, one litre of petrol is enough for this tree motorbike. The machine takes only 30 seconds to climb a 100 feet long arecanut tree. The person using this machine must wear the seat belt as a precautionary measure. Though the tyre of the machine gets eroded, there is no any harm to the tree. Bhat says it is better to wear pant or shorts instead of wearing saree or lungi as they may get caught in the wheels of the machine. This machine consumes fuel only when it goes up and while coming down, the engine of the machine can be turned off. The machine has been designed to climb the arecanut tree only and it cannot be used on coconut trees as of now. But Bhat says he is seriously contemplating designing machines to harvest coconut also.
Bhat has spent around Rs 75,000 to create this machine. He had approached some mechanical engineers to help him produce more such machines and has already built four. The shortage of skilled labour to harvest arecanut forced Bhat to invent this machine. After seeing the demonstration of this ‘tree motorbike’ machine, many have asked Bhat to get them such machines.
Though there was a bright opportunity to secure a government job, Bhat, a B Sc graduate from Yuvaraja College, Mysuru, chose to be a farmer. Soon after securing graduation, he returned home and engaged in agriculture. Having around 12 acres of land, Bhat has personally experienced the problem of shortage of labour. Hence, he decided to find a solution to this issue. Though some machines are already available in the market to harvest arecanut, they have failed to serve the purpose. But, this newly invented tree motorbike has already attracted farmers and gained their confidence.
'Youngsters should not be detached from agriculture'
When Newskarnataka.com attempted to contact Bhat he was busy demonstrating his newly invented machine in Bantwal. Speaking to Newskarnataka.com, Bhat advised that people should not abandon agriculture citing shortage of skilled labour. “I observed that many youngsters are migrating from villages to town even though they have enough agricultural land. This must be stopped. Agriculture is the backbone of India and people should not detach from it”, opines Bhat.
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