From Here and There

From Here and There

Weaving a bright future

These villages had no roads, no electricity. Most of the residents here were heavily dependent on forest produce for their livelihoods. Later, thanks to new legislations, they were deprived of even that.

This was the state of affairs in at least five hamlets including Hara, Kabbinale, Hallihole, Hosabalu and Chavadi in the Kollur Mookambika reserve forest of Kundapur taluk in Udupi district. The region was Naxal infested and there was every possibility of the local people getting influenced by their ideology. It was at such a point in time that the Kollur Range Forest Officer S V Kambali thought about the ‘Suvarna Vastra Neeti’ (textile policy) of the state government.

Earlier, people in the region were dependent on forest produce. They gathered non-timber forest produce which they later handed over to local factories. They were paid between Rs 60 and Rs 75 for their work every day. But when the government came down on this, they were in trouble.

It was then that the RFO decided to take things in his hand and started handloom units in many hamlets. Today, every training centre has 20 people being trained. “Earlier we would trudge five kilometres every day in search of work. Now, we don’t have to walk so much. Instead we are learning important skills,” explain women who are being trained at the Hosabalu training centre.

“Earlier we would work in the forests, but today, we have gained a lot of confidence. The government’s move to offer us membership of the Government Weavers’ Association has meant that we will receive a stipend of Rs 2,000 every month. We will also have access to weaving infrastructure such as looms,” people here explain, adding that they now earn Rs 90-Rs 150, a definite increase in their daily earnings. 

N Lokanath

Jackfruit floods Tumkur markets

It’s jackfruit all the way in Tumkur district’s Chelur. A weekend jackfruit fair is held here between May and June every year. There is a huge demand for jackfruit grown here and sold in and around Chelur, which is very close to the NH-4. Also, there is a demand for the fruit from neighbouring states such as Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Nearly 20 to 30 lorry loads of jackfruit are sold here every week.

The fruits are transported to Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur and Kurnool, Mumbai, Pune and other towns of Tamil Nadu. Also, traders from across Andhra Pradesh, Bellary, Davangere, Pune and Bangalore visit the town for their transactions. There are several other smaller markets at Antarasanahalli near Madhugiri and Tumkur. Jackfruit fairs are held there too.

Today, there are not many exclusive jackfruit farms. The jackfruits being sold at the fairs are the ones that are grown at the borders of farms and fields. Tumkur district is known for its many varieties of jackfruit. Over 200 traders are involved in jackfruit transactions in the region. Such fairs have come as a boon to both farmers and traders. A single jackfruit tree bears nearly 200 fruits in a year. The transactions at the jackfruit market here run into anywhere between Rs 50 lakh and Rs one crore.

D B Nagaraj

Home to the pineapple

The Banavasi pineapple has acquired the status of a brand name, it seems, in the state’s agricultural circuit. Uttara Kannada’s Banavasi is that important place in history that was home to the great dynasty of the Kadambas. Today, Banavasi is known more for its famed pineapples, and there is a huge demand for them in neighbouring states as well.

Banavasi is a semi-Malnad region. The major crops grown here have been paddy, ginger, plantains and areca. In recent times, pineapple has joined the list. The pineapple grown here has a demand in the markets of Delhi, Goa and Mumbai.  It is between April and June that it is the pineapple season in the region. For at least four to five months in a year, there is hectic activity surrounding the pineapple. Once paddy harvesting ends, farm labourers in the region take to pineapple harvesting till the rainy season ends.

Even small and marginal farmers grow pineapple and reap its benefits. The farmers of Banavasi region grow the ‘Queen’ variety of pineapple. Because these  are being grown here for nearly 25 years in the region, they have gained the name of Banavasi pineapple. Also, because small fruit traders are in direct contact with pineapple farmers, there is no problem of marketing. Thanks to banks and co-operative societies offering loans aplenty, farmers don’t have many financial troubles here.

G M Bomnalli

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