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18 Oct 2019, Edition - 1557, Friday

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Coimbatore

Farm Feed : Coconut tree climbing device, a boon to growers

Umaima Shafiq

A tree-climbing mechanical device patented and manufatcured by a Coimbatore-based grassroots innovator may prove to be a boon for many farmers and growers.

Palm trees, coconut trees, betel and other tall trees soothe the eyes of any person passing by. They require tree climbers to climb up the slender trunks and pick the fruits or nuts growing on top. This has been a traditional wisdom passed down the generations. Not everyone can climb these trees. However, the numbers of these tree climbers is dwindling in India.

In an increasingly mechanised world, a device to help climb these trees would be a boon. And this thought helped Venkat Damodaran Naidu, a Coimbatore-based grassroots innovator, invented an extendable foldable ladder in 1999, which was a simple tree climbing device. He then patented the product and started commercial manufacture from 2008 from his factory called R Tech Engineering at Poochiyur in Narasimhanaikenpalayam.

Venkat’s son R Srivardhan who partners this enterprise tells The Covai Post, “We have three models – one for betelnut palms which have thin trunks with a circumference of about nine to 24 inches; a standard model for trees of 55-inch circumference; and a third one for 17-67 inches circumference. All are made of stainless steel with quality material for seating, grips and safety harnesses.

“ Anybody can climb trees with this device, adjusting the grips as they ascend and use both hands to harvest, prune or fertilise the nuts and fruits. The safety harness also helps them navigate the crown of the tree safely. The device is foldable and easy to use and transport. We also provide demo videos and give a year’s warranty. The device can support human weight of 100-120 kgs.”

Srivardhan claimed that the product was being exported to around 28 countries and was supported by Central Government’s Department of Science and Technology. “The product prices range from Rs.6,800 to Rs.8,500. We keep a minimum profit margin, as our aim is that it should benefit farmers and agriculturists. We have online sales also,” says Srivardhan. RTech Engineering phone number is 7845574423.

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