Cochin University of Science and Technology, also known as Cusat has received Indian patent for twenty years for its Portable Agriculture Network System (PANS) planned to defend flexi-stem trees like banana plants. The device is a boon to banana cultivators who are frequently haunted by killer storms.
It is important to mention that MB Santosh Kumar, Associate Professor in the IT section is the inventor while B Kannan, professor and ex-HoD of Computer Applications & Sunil Kumar N, Principal of Cusat Kuttanad campus are the co-inventors.
Banana plants fall under the flexi plants perennial herb group that usually contains pseudo stems. Many such plants in the age group of 2 to 8 months tend to get damaged from heavy winds, causing huge loss to the farmers. Presently, unscientific manual methods are used to tie and support the plants.
The team led by Santosh Kumar has designed PANS, a system that is environment-friendly, cost-effective, portable and durable. While designing this system, the team kept in mind the strength & durability of different banana fibres and other materials.
The cost is very low because it is designed from waste materials like banana fibre and used conveyer belt etc.
KN Madhusudanan, Vice Chancellor of Cusat said, “This is a great breakthrough to protect the growers from losses and it is reasonable to all. We are looking for partnerships to manufacture this product on a large scale to ensure availability of the product across the nation”.
More about PANS
Dr Santhosh Kumar explained that PANS consists of several primary supports with concrete bases fitted with vertical GI poles & flexible connecting members made of canvas, coir, canvas, nylon and banana fibre. He said, “A broad belt with loops made of jute or nylon is tied around the stem of the plant. Once the belt is in position, strings made of banana fibre or coir is threaded via the loops and later tied to the vertical GI poles fixed to the concrete bases”.
He added that “PANS can defend plantain plants from the storm blowing at a speed of more than 60 km/hour. Not only winds, but other debilitating factors affecting the weak trunk of plantain plants can also be kept at bay”.