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India Develops Cotton Plucking Machine

The Southern India Mills’ Association’s (SIMA) Cotton Development and Research Association (CDRA) has developed a cotton plucking machine to help farmers pick the fiber faster.

Chairman of the SIMA CDRA, C.K. Narayanasaami said the association has been trying to manufacture a cotton-picking machine for Indian cotton in order to increase efficiency and lower costs since there is a shortage of labor for cotton picking, according to The Hindu.

The battery-powered, portable handheld machine was created by Point Industries, a company based in Coimbatore, India. The machine, which has undergone several field trials before its launch, also comes with a cotton collection bag.

When picking manually, a worker can collect 13 to 15 kilograms (28 to 33 pounds) of cotton per day, while being paid Rs. 230 to Rs. 250 ($3.61 to $3.93) in wages. The new machine allows workers to pick more cotton at a faster pace, reducing the farmer’s labor cost to less than seven percent of the raw cotton’s price, down from its current 35 percent.

Deputy chairman of SIMA CDRA, B. Lakshminarayana said the association will appoint distributors to sell the machine to farmers. So far the response has been positive.

The association appealed to the state government to reduce the Value Added Tax on the machine to five percent, down from 14.5%. It has also asked the Rajasthan Government to provide subsidy for it.