Sureshs Arecanut-Climber secures National Innovation Foundations prestigious award

Date : 19-03-2019

THRISSUR: Arecanut harvest is often the most challenging task that a farmer comes across, but a prototype model developed by Suresh P V from Amarambalam in Malappuram district, might have just eased the job for the farmer. Suresh’s Arecanut-climber bagged the third prize in the 10th Biennial Innovation Award of National Innovation Foundation (NIF). 

The automated arecanut climber developed by Suresh works on a petrol engine and operates with remote control. Adaptable to various palm sizes, the machine harvests the arecanut from a tree in mere 2 to 3 minutes. The fuel consumption is around 0.5 litres per hour. 

Experts believe the automated machine has commercial application and can replace the manual arecanut climber that is being used currently. 

“At present, the small-scale farmers collect the arecanut when it falls when ripe. While the large scale farmers with vast arecanut farms use the manual machine,” says Sunil V G of Malappuram KVK. 

“The farmer uses a rope to pull up the machine, which renders it impractical for large scale farms with each tree around 10m tall,” says Sunil. He said the discussions to develop Suresh’s machine for industrial purpose is progressing and once completed, it may be launched in the market.

The machine is a work of over five years, with a series of models that did not succeed, but he never lost hope of developing a suitable device that serves the purpose. Sunil first made a model that can carry a person to harvest the arecanut, but it didn’t work out due to several technical issues, however, “he continued his work, researched and came out with the latest one,” said Sunil. The innovation was also awarded first in the agricultural category at the Rural Innovation Startup Conclave at National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad.  

Hailing from a poor background, Suresh, a school dropout, has many inventions to his credit. 

In 2004, he made a hydroelectric power unit that brought light to 60 households in his village. Two years later he developed a rope-way system for bringing agricultural produces down from a height of 1200 feet. An economy generator for milking machine is yet another innovation by Suresh.

“What makes Suresh differ from others is his passion for new inventions,” said James P George, DDM, NABARD, Malappuram. NABARD has supported the innovation in its initial development along with KVK  Malappuram, Department of Agriculture and ATMA Malappuram. 

Suresh acknowledges people apart from his family members who supported him. 

Balan Nellankara from Nilambur, in whose workshop the machine took initial shape, Subeesh C from Edappal, who helped Suresh in developing the mobile control system, Chriss Ipe of NIF and the Agricultural Officers of Amarambalam Krishi Bhavan have played vital roles. 

The other award winners of the 10th Biennial Innovation Award of National Innovation Foundation (NIF) from Kerala include Roy Mathew and E V Thomas for their improved nutmeg variety, and Shaji Varghese for the fruit capper. 

The national award, selected from around 12500 entries across the country, was conferred to Suresh in a Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship inaugurated by the President of India Ramnath Kovind at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

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