A five day agricultural trade fair, 'Agri Intex 2012' began on Wednesday at CODISSIA in the city. Firms exhibited agricultural equipment designed to reduce the use of labour in agriculture. Farmers at the exhibition said that due to severe labour shortage, they would consider buying such machines. P Aruchamy, from Udayampalayam who owns 2 acres of land, said that though he cannot afford the machines, the acute labour shortage is forcing him to think about procuring suitable machines.
Officials from firms which develop agricultural infrastructure say that it may take time to convince farmers to buy such machines, but eventually they believed that they would come around. Rajesh Chikkara, assistant manager of 'Class' an agricultural machinery manufacturer, said that these are products which can reduce dependence on labour and increase the efficiency. "We have a machine called the 'Paddy Panther 14', which can eliminate labour to a great extend. Planting an acre of land with paddy will take 3 to 4 labourers a full day. This machine can plant 3 to 4 acres of land in a day," he said.
For many companies, the focus is on attracting the young. S Muralitharan, an official of 'Redlands' another agricultural manufacturer, said that their firm is planning to make an air conditioned cabin for their machines. "This will appeal to youth," he said. Syntek Xtreme Fuel Treatment, a liquid which its manufacturers say will increase fuel efficiency and performance of vehicles. Mohan Murali, an executive of the firm said that if a millilitre is mixed with four litres of fuel, this would increase the mileage by 10 to 15 percent.
The exhibition also included show pieces made from coconut products.
MG Prabhakaran, an official from the coconut board said that they conduct free training programmes for those interested in developing products from coconuts. Ravindran said that art work is in great demand. Though there are many artists who make such products in Kerala and Orissa, not many people in Coimbatore develop such products, he said. "Coimbatore is an ideal city to make such products as it is filled with coconut farms," an official said.