Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 10, 2010 (Calcutta Tube) A two-day competition to develop a coconut plucking machine and win Rs.1 million ended here Friday. Twentyone contestants displayed their innovative machines in the event organised by the Kerala industries department.
Shortage of coconut pluckers in Kerala is the biggest problem faced by the farm sector. With the clan of pluckers diminishing over the years, it has become an herculean task to get one. Farms are in a desperate search for innovative thinkers to design a machine to pluck coconuts.
Out of 21 contestants, 19 were from Kerala, one from Bangalore and one from Mumbai, M. Abdul Majeed of the department told IANS.
‘A special expert committee has evaluated them. Now it is for them to decide the winners,’ said Majeed.
The 21 contestants were selected from a list of 109 applicants.
One of such contestants was K.K. Parmesweran, who runs a family engineering unit near Thrissur.
‘I developed an equipment which has a few pipes. These can be raised using a cycle chain depending on the height of the coconut tree. This can be done by anyone standing about 10 feet from the tree,’ said Parmesweran.
A motorised machine which won applause was of Chandran from Thrissur who has named it as ‘Black Cat’ .
In this machine, the coconut plucker can take a seat and when the motor is switched on and connected to the tree, it soars upwards and the person can pluck the coconuts.
Speaking to IANS, a member of the expert committee said that it will take two weeks to finalise the result.
‘Our job is to prepare a report and give it to the government,’ said the official on the condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, people are waiting for the result.
‘We are eagerly waiting the outcome for the contest because in our colony there are around 25 houses and each home has at least two to three coconut trees. We have already decided that we will be one of the first to buy one such machine for the colony, when it is out,’ said Kurian Thomas, a retired doctor in Kottayam.
Kerala’s annual production of coconuts has seen a major fall — in both area under cultivation and production.
This comes at a time when the area under coconut cultivation in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka put together increased from 29 percent (1993) to 40 percent (2007).