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Empowerment of Rural Youth through FoCT
There is a very famous Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you have to feed him every day, give him a net and teach him how to catch fish, and he can feed himself for a lifetime”. Literally, this is what is being achieved through the training programme titled Friends of Coconut Tree (FoCT) organized by Coconut Development Board (CDB) and implemented through Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and voluntary organizations functioning in each district. As is rightly conveyed through this proverb, empowerment is the best way to improve the livelihood of any population.
Here is an example of a group comprising four enthusiastic rural youth, trained at KVK, CPCRI, Kasaragod ,on Mechanical Palm Climbing and Plant Protection in Coconut. The members of the group are Haridasan D, Biju K.P, Deepu T and Sunil Kumar C.P in the age group of 24-35 years and belonging to Kayyur, Cheemeni, Pilicode panchayaths of Kasaragod district. On successful completion of this training course of six days duration, they not only acquired the skill of machine aided palm climbing, but also realized the power dynamics of work in their life context and gained confidence and reasonable control over their lives. They all are well aware about their responsibility and social commitment to support the empowerments of fellow youth in the society which ultimately prove that self help leads to mutual help enabling the overall development of a society.
Immediately after getting trained, they selected palm climbing as their profession from which they could earn reasonable income. On an average, each of them climb 35-40 palms per day, ranging from 25 to 70 palms, based on the size of the plot and earn around Rs. 600/-per day. Their enthusiasm never allowed them to stick on to coconut climbing alone and later they got trained on tapping of rubber plants also. At present, their routine work commences at 04.00 am in the morning with rubber tapping which would continue up to 7’o clock, tapping around 300 plants. From 08.00 am to 12.00 noon, they would be engaged in coconut climbing, harvesting and other management practices so that their daily income get enhanced between Rs.900 to 1000/-.
Now, they have taken up the responsibility of harvesting coconuts from around 3500 palms, once in 45 days, in the premises of Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS), Pilicode on contract basis for one year. Each round of harvest lasts for 23 days. Further, they extend training to rural youth and motivate them to take up this as a remunerative profession enabling to sustain their own family as well as to facilitate the coconut cultivators of the country. The success of this group in improving their social, cultural and economic conditions is an ample proof to believe that rural farm families can achieve better livelihood and sustainable development through empowerment programmes.
Dr. George V.Thomas, Director, CPCRI highlighted their role in strengthening the empowerment drive which is evidenced from the impact created by friends of coconut in the society and urged that citing this as a model more rural youth should come forward to get themselves equipped with skill and technological empowerment.
Contact Nos: Deepu 9847131133,Sunil Kumar 9961921592, Haridasan 9526514917,Biju 9947646849