Published: 04th March 2020
Karnataka farmer's 'Areca nut bike' gets over 1000 buyers in just seven months
In June, last year, Ganapathi Bhat invented the bike which is powered by a 2-stroke engine, using which the farmers can easily climb the areca nut tree to spray pesticides and also harvest the crop
A farmer from Komale village in Bantwal taluk who invented 'Areca bike' has sold more than 1,000 bikes in the last seven months which is a remarkable feat given the fact that he used no modern means of publicity. His product which has helped farmers overcome the acute labour shortage has found its way to not just to almost every nook and corner of areca nut growing regions of the state but also neighbouring states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh all just by word of mouth.
In June last year, Ganapathi Bhat invented the bike which is powered by a 2-stroke engine, using which the farmers can easily climb the areca nut tree to spray pesticides and also harvest the crop. The product became an instant hit so much so that even Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra had appreciated it and his company officials had contacted Bhat seeking permission to market it. Bhat turned down the offer out of fear that it might shoot up product cost making it unaffordable for the farmers.
Bhat who crossed the 1,000 marks in the sale of his Areca Bikes a few days and currently has orders for 100 more, said the production improvisation is at final stages and once it's done then the product will come with a moulded set which will be easy to assemble and also its cost will come down. At present, an Areca Bike costs Rs 75,000 including GST. For riders who weigh more than 80 kgs, it comes with a set of tyres without any extra cost.
Out of the 1,000 bikes sold so far, atleast half of it have gone to areca nut fields outside the state. "I have sold over 380 bikes to Kerala and Tamil Nadu alone. In Karnataka, the demand is high in places like Shivamogga, Thirtahalli, Agumbe and Sirsi where the areca nut growers themselves work in the fields and depend less on labourers. In Dakshina Kannada, there is not much demand as the availability of labourers is not a big issue here," pointed out Bhat. Further, Bhat said the majority of bikes are purchased by a group of 5-10 farmers who crowdfund to buy it.
In the last six months, four dealers have opened shops to market the innovative product in Shivamogga, Thirtahalli, BC Road and Neralakatte. The manufacturing unit has been shifted from Bantwal to Shivamogga where is a high demand for the product. Bhat has applied for a patent.