Student’s agri-copter a boon for farmers

The AgriCopter won accolades at the Young Entrepreneurs Summit (YES)

KOCHI: A novel idea of spraying fertilizer for paddy using a remote-controlled quad-copter ideated and put forward by a group of B.Tech students promises to bring much-needed respite to farmers troubled by shortage of workers, particularly in a state like Kerala, where farmers and their profession are decreasing in number. The AgriCopter won accolades at the Young Entrepreneurs Summit (YES), held in the state on Friday, and fetched Athul K. Shibu and three of his friends from Government Engineering College, Thrissur, a third prize in the category of “Best Innovative Ideas”.

The copter that flies at a level of five to six feet from the ground with a payload of 10 kg urea can spray the fertilizer to about 22 acres of paddy land a day. This can save the labour of at least four farm hands a day, Athul explains, son of a farmer. In fact Athul got hold of the idea due to his involvement in paddy cultivation. “I used to assist my father in the farm after my studies and was struck by the idea after a mishap occurred to him. One day, my father was bitten by a snake when he went to put fertilizer to paddy. And snake bite is common during farming. I started looking for a method by which fertilizer can be applied to paddy without stepping into the slushy field,” he told. According to Athul, the copter, running on a rechargeable battery of the size of a eight-inch by six-inch brick, could be controlled by the farmer himself sitting in a shade and he can also monitor the operation by a camera attached to the copter.

It can even be controlled from a two-kilometre distance. “Farmers in Kerala are leaving their paddy fields uncultivated due to shortage of labour and also because of the high labour cost. The stage is set right for such a machine,” he said. Athul hoped that his invention would attract more youths to farming. “Educated youngsters are now keeping off farming as they don’t want to get soiled in a slushy field. Such a machine can convert a blue collar job to a white collar one,” Athul explained.

He said that the first copter that would weigh not more than six kg (without the payload) would be out for operations in two months. The machine was expected to cost '60,000. “The copter can be shared by a group of farmers. Or someone can buy it and give to farmers on a rental basis,” Athul added. He is doing the project with the support of his friends Job V.J., Sarath Marson and Arjun Ajay and under the guidance of Professor T.V. Gopinath.

( Source : dc )
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