City dwellers who have been contemplating cutting down coconut trees in their compound, thanks to the dearth of coconut climbers, might want to do a rethink. The steady increase in the sales of the coconut climbing machine, promoted by the Kerala Agro Industries Corporation (KAICO) and sold through its Agro Bazaar outlet in the city, is sure to lift their hopes.
Going by the sales figures, during the last one year, around 6,000 climbing machines have been sold through Agro Bazaar. Each device costs Rs 2,500, and their sales have kept the cash registers of the bazaar, opened two years ago, tinkling. Not just that, the ‘thozhil sena’, under KAICO, has been receiving daily calls from residents to pluck coconuts with the help of the machine.
‘’The coconut-climbing machine is one of the most moving items in Agro Bazaar. Considering the shortage of climbers, it is natural for people to think about machines,’’ said S Sajeev, Divisional Manager in charge of Agro Bazaar.
KAICO has been distributing the machines to the trained members under the ‘Friends of Coconut Tree’ project launched by the Kerala Coconut Development Board. Already, some 5,000 members have completed training using the machine in the first phase and the second round is on since April last in all districts.
The fact that the machine makes residents non-dependable on coconut-climbers who have become an extinct group has made it a fancy buy among many. ‘’It is those residents who have medium length trees, accessible from the terrace or walls, who have been buying it. Others give us a call. We charge Rs 40 per tree,’’ said Shiroj, co-ordinator of the ‘thozhil sena.’ Residents who need the help of the sena can give a call at 2466674, check availability, fill up a form at Agro Bazaar and use their service.
Equally sought after at the Bazaar is the weed-cutter which helps remove bushes, thickly grown plants and trim overgrown backyards. Though the machine costs around Rs 20,000, it also has caught the attention of city residents who have less manual hands around for such jobs these days, said Sajeev.
The Agro Bazaar, which was opened in 2010 to provide all agricultural needs under one roof, has turned into a farmers’ paradise in a short time. Though it was opened in five other places and is all set to be opened at Kalpetta soon, nowhere else has it received such a wide response as in Thiruvananthapuram, officials say.