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Dec 26, 2008

Chadivayal Tribals Revive Agriculture

Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, R. Kannan, interacting with the tribals on a field at Chadivayal. The 38 tribal families in Chadivayal, near Siruvani, about 30 km from the city, have started paddy cultivation after a gap nearly five years, thanks to the initiative of the Forest Department in bringing them into a cluster. Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, R. Kannan and District Forest Officer, Coimbatore, I. Anwardeen mooted a proposal for reviving agriculture on a 40-acre land that was originally allotted to them.


The tribal population during an interaction with the officials when they visited the hamlet said that they gave up agriculture owing to monetary constraints and frequent man-animal conflicts. The damage to crop by wild boar and pachyderms were cited as the reason. The officials directed Range Officer of Pooluvampatti, G. Rajeshwaran, to help the tribal population revive agriculture and empower them economically.



Mr. Kannan and Mr. Anwardeen pointed out that joint forest management involving the native tribal population was being given a big impetus. Only by providing employment could the tribal population be weaned away from the influence of the plunderers of forest wealth. The tribal population failed to succeed when they pursued agriculture individually. Hence it was decided to rope in the services and expertise of the Forest Development Agency (FDA) having presence in all the 33 tribal hamlets in the district to make them into a cluster for mutual exchange of benefits and expertise.



Funds available with the FDAs generated through collection and sale of Minor Forest Produces (MFP) were re-routed as agricultural aid for the farmers here. Earlier, revenue from MFP used to be sent to the Government and allocation used to be made. The Government dispensed with the practice and made the funds available back for the tribal community. A sum of Rs. 1.2 lakh was provided to them for preparing the field and sourcing the farm inputs. Thudialur Agricultural Co-operative Society (TUCAS) provided the paddy seeds and inputs.



The tribal population in the first phase began cultivation of paddy on 22 acres of land within the Reserve Forest boundary and the first crop had come up for harvesting. TUCAS had agreed to buy the paddy on a buy-back arrangement for the inputs that it had provided. Paddy was being procured at Rs. 14 per quintal and the tribals pointed out that close to 500 bags of yield was almost assured. Mr. Kannan and Mr. Anwardeen are planning to emulate the example in all other tribal hamlets for ensuring self sustenance of the tribal population.

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