Monkeys to don the role of coconut pluckers in Kerala
You can soon see monkeys plucking coconuts in Kerala as they do in Sri Lanka or South East Asia. This innovative proposal will be presented to the government by Agriculture deputy director K. R. Vijayakumar and principal agriculture officer V.K. Raju . Though the coconut development board had initiated many novel ideals like mechanised coconut climbing and collective workforce to ensure the timely harvest of coconuts, the severe dearth of pluckers still remains a cause of concern for the coconut farmers all over the state. Measures like the introduction of mechanised climbing equipments including robots for plucking coconuts and setting up a college for training coconut climbers have not been of much effect in solving the manpower shortage.
In the recent past, many exceptional crops of Kerala like coconut and paddy have declined drastically mainly due to escalating costs of cultivation and the shortage of farm hands, which prompted the farmers to turn to less labour intensive crops like banana and rubber.
As the state continues to reel under severe shortage of coconut tree climbers, only innovative plans like these can help the farmers in the profitable cultivation of coconut. As per this proposal monkeys will be trained to carry out the task of plucking coconuts. There is also a proposal to set up a training centre for monkeys where these smart animals will be trained by trainers from Indonesia and Thailand.
The training will make the monkeys competent enough in plucking the ripe ones and collecting these from the ground and loading them to the trucks thus eliminating the need of manual intervention. A trained monkey can climb up to 500 coconut trees a day, while a human can do no more than 40-50, which makes it a better option. So from now on to get the coconuts plucked on time , all you need to do is to call in these smart monkeys for whom tree climbing is just part of monkey business!