Coconut growers plan mechanisation in plucking
CUMBUM (THENI): Coconut growers in Cumbum valley have plans to go for mechanisation in plucking coconut from tall variety of trees as they face acute shortage of labour and escalation of labour costs.
The valley has over 13 lakh trees and produce 3.25 crore coconuts. Normally, coconut growers pluck 22 to 27 matured nuts every 40 to 45 days from each tree.
They need a large number of workers to pluck coconuts.
But the number of workers engaged in this trade is approximately 1,400 persons only.
Such a small work force does not match the demand of labour for plucking nuts. With growing demand, workers too press farmers to scale up their wages. Above all, traditional plucking system has delayed harvesting process. When contacted, Cumbum Valley Coconut Farmers and Contractors Association Secretary K.M. Abbas said that each farmer had been paying Rs.137 as wages plus two coconuts to each worker. The new harvesting machine operated with hydraulic system will certainly speed up harvesting process. More over, skilled tree climber is not necessary.
With this machine, any person can go to the tip of tree and pluck coconut irrespective of tree height. This can be operated by any person without any difficulty, he added.
Farmers having big farms too can complete harvesting in a day or two. Time for climbing up and down from each tree too will come down considerably. One worker can harvest nuts in 300 trees without any hassle.
Several coconut growers in the valley have ordered this machine from Coimbatore district.
In Udumalpet area, workers have been using long stick fitted with sharp sickle to pluck nuts.