Coimbatore: The Southern India Mills Association – Cotton Development and Research Association(SIMA-CD&RA) in association with Point Industries, a sister concern of the Coimbatore-based Sharp Industries has developed a new device to pluck kapas (raw cotton) a hand held machines that run on batteries, which farmers usually pluck manually.
SIMA-CD & RA sources said that this indigenously developed machine, priced at ₹9,500 (inclusive of taxes), would pluck only mature bolls without trash and contamination. Reports show that the trash content is less than one per cent against the normal average of 2 to 3 percent.
The farm varsity has tested and certfied the SIMA kapas plucker.
B Lakshminarayana, Chairman, SIMA CD & RA, said that the machine would enable a farmer pick 60 to 80 kg of kapas a day against manual picking of 12 to 20 kg/day. Coming as it does at a time when the picking season is round the corner, notwithstanding the paucity of farm workers and high labour cost, this machine is expected to be a boon for the cotton farmer.
SIMA sources said that manual picking cost alone would account for one-third of the total cost of cultivation for the farmer. By using this plucker, the farmer would be able to bring down the labour cost by 20 percent.
K Selvaraju, Secretary General, SIMA, said that the association has been persistently persuading the Ministry of Textiles, especially the Cotton Corporation of India, to extend support for the machine. Thanks to the efforts, the Union Textile Minister, Smriti Irani, directed CCI to place an order for 300 machines – 100 each for its branches at Akola, Ahmedabad and Warrangal.
They have supplied and trained the farmers. The trials have proved successful. CCI is planning to place an order for 500 machines this year. Meanwhile, a demonstration is on for the farmers in Telangana today.
Selvaraju said that SIMA has invested around Rs. 2 crore on plant and machinery. Sharp Industries makes the machine on their behalf.
Close to 20-million farmers are involved in cotton cultivation directly. This would go a long way in saving labour cost for the farmer, besides ensuring clean cotton as well. The agriculture ministry has various schemes, but they have not been able to persuade them to support this development.
The TN Government will be offering this machine at Rs. 8,500, with a 50 percent subsidy to help farmers buy the equipment and strengthen the area under cotton cultivation.