On A Mission to Make Fallow Land Productive
Rajan’s family is one among the twenty-four Kuruma families residing in the Randamgate Koopu colony at Thrissilery in the interiors of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala. Being forest-dwelling tribes, Rajan and his six-member family have the rights to do farming on about one-and-a-half acres of land as per the Forest Rights Act. However, the land had been lying fallow for around 10 years owing to varying reasons.
“I and my three sons are daily wage labourers. A day’s work will fetch each of us around Rs 600. If we get work every day, we can manage things at home smoothly. But the work opportunities are very less, and we struggle to make ends meet,” Rajan said.
The forest land over which the family has the rights to cultivate is the only other source where Rajan can resort to finding additional income. While Rajan was actively working to make his land productive, IGSSS’ support came to him as a much-needed impetus. Rajan is expecting an annual return of Rs 80,000 from the land within five years. In addition to the coffee and pepper plants, more than ten saplings of various fruit trees and coconut were also provided to Rajan’s family. Now he is also cultivating vegetables and tubers such as colocasia and yam as intermittent crops in his new pepper and coffee garden. This will help the family to not only earn some extra money but also ensure variety in their food.