Kerala training youth to climb coconut trees

Kerala training youth to climb coconut trees

Four years after the Coconut Development Board (CDB) kicked off a Kerala-anchored programme to help unemployed youth become coconut tree climbers, the project has emerged as a national initiative featuring a trained, earning workforce across 11 states.

According to latest figures from the Kochi-headquartered CDB, more than 43,000 people have been trained under the Friends of Coconut Tree (FoCT) programme in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Odisha and West Bengal.

Scarcity of labour and subsequent disruptions in harvest schedules had led CDB to the idea of developing a group of professionals trained in harvesting and plant protection techniques. The Board also proposed to address the issue of reluctance to approach tree-climbing as a profession by incorporating new technologies and climbing devices in the programme. Four years after the launch, the programme has moved beyond the idea of employment and now entails features that cover overall wellness of the worker.

Kerala continues to face a shortage of coconut tree climbers, the search often ending with migrant, often untrained, workers.

The CDB publishes contact details of the trained climbers, making them part of an on-call service.

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