Areca nut is harvested mainly in India, with nearly one million tons collected annually in the country. The trees themselves are difficult to measure, as they can reach over 60 feet in height, but have an average trunk diameter of 4 to 6 inches, which is even more difficult to climb in heavy rains when the trunks are wet. Bhat said in an interview that “the villagers asked me if I was crazy. They had doubts about my invention…whether it would work in the rainy season because the trees would be slippery”, but it seems to work. . Bhat invested more than $50,000 in the project, which he started when he found himself unable to climb trees on his 18-acre farm as he grew older. The farmer saw about a threefold increase in harvesting efficiency with the machine compared to without.
Bhat, for his part, seems proud of the device. “I feel like my life is over now” was his direct line in an interview, although he has apparently already started a second derivative tree climber aimed at the wider trunks of coconut palms. Regardless of his future projects, it’s always fascinating to see homemade projects making people’s lives easier.
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