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Patent for CUSAT for Flexi-stem Plants Protection Device

In Education
September 05, 2019

Cochin University of Science and Technology has received Indian patent for 20 years for Portable Agriculture Network System(PANS) intended to protect flexi-trees like banana plants.

The new device is set to be a boon to thousands of banana farmers who are haunted and doomed by killer storms frequently. Dr. M B Santhoshkumar, Associate Professor in the IT Division is the inventor and Dr. B Kannan, Professor, Computer Applications Department and Dr. N Sunilkumar, Principal, CUSAT’s engineering college at Pulincunnoo, Kuttanad are co-inventors.

PANS consists of a number of primary supports with concrete bases fitted with vertical GI poles and flexible connecting members made of coir, canvass cloth, banana fibre, nylon, etc which will encircle the trunk of the flexi-plant in addition to a number of flexible strings in such a way that a flexible string is connected between the flexible connecting member and at least one primary support from the primary supports placed outside the cultivation area.

“Eminent scholars like Dr.K S Beena, Syndicate member and Professor of Civil Engineering, Dr. Sunil K Narayanankutty, Controller of Examinations and Professor in the Department of Polymer Science and Rubber Technology, Dr.K Mohankumar, Director, CUSAT Radar Centre and UGC BSR Faculty Fellow at Department of Atmospheric Science and a few others have contributed greatly to the development of the device. Dr. N S Gopalakrishnan, former Director and Dr. I G Ratheesh of IUCIPRS facilitated the process of securing the patent”, explained Dr. Santhoshkumar. “In fact, the product is the result of an interdisciplinary effort.”

India is the largest producer of banana in the world and Kerala is one of the frontline states in the country in banana cultivation. The plight of the hapless farmers once a deadly storm has taken the toll of the entire plants which happens very frequently in the state, has greatly influenced in the development of the device. This can protect banana plants from the fury of wind with a velocity of more than 60 km per hour. Not only storms, but other debilitating factors affecting the weak trunk of banana plants causing their eventual breaking down can
be kept at bay and the plants can be supported using this device which functions as a network.

“While similar products with French and Chinese patents are defective in one way or the other like exorbitant manufacturing cost, ecologically hostile or causing damage to the weak stem of the plant besides the fact that a large extent of the cultivable land has to be spent for accommodating the protective system, our product is a near perfect one”, says Dr. Santhoshkumar and Dr. Kannan. “Its effectiveness has been tested in a banana farm owned by a faculty member of the University.” According to them, this will be highly beneficial to a large number of banana farmers who are plagued by the menace of killer storms.

The University is seeking competent and genuine partners for taking this cost-effective, farmer friendly and portable product to the farmers. A major portion of the income generated from this will be spent towards institutional social responsibility like providing concessions to financially weak farmers, etc., informs the CUSAT authorities.