Despite the best efforts of the government, farming in the agency tracts in Adilabad and neighbouring districts continues to be un-remunerative. The crop yields are so dismal that most of the Adivasi farmers barely manage to make both ends meet.
About 30 per cent of the nearly 7 lakh hectares of cultivable land in Adilabad, Kumram Bheem Asifabad, Mancherial and Nirmal districts is located in the agency areas. Cotton is the main crop but its yield is a pathetically low three quintals per acre against a normal of 8 quintals elsewhere.
“We face language problem when talking to Adivasi farmers about simple scientific techniques for improvement of crop yields,” pointed out agriculture scientist and Coordinator at District Agriculture Advisory and Transfer of Technology Centre, Adilabad, Sudhanshu Kasbe. “Had there been officials, especially Agriculture Extension Officers from the aboriginal tribes, the task would have been quite easy,” he opines while underscoring the need for youths from the Gond, Kolam and other ethnic tribes to pursue education in Agriculture.
“It will not only be the end of language barrier but the youths can do wonders while mixing knowledge of traditional and modern farming methods. Productivity can be increased in the same land and the same crop varieties,” the scientist hoped.
Dr. Kasbe’s opinion holds water given the fact that there are hardly any AEOs from these tribes. The low crop yields is a good reason for youths opting for courses in agriculture.
Lack of awareness
The Utnoor Integrated Tribal Development Agency, which facilitates higher education for tribal students has laid stress on the latter pursuing engineering or other professional courses after Intermediate. The students completely lack awareness about courses in Agriculture and about the job potential in that area.
Youths who have completed Intermediate with biology, physics and chemistry can opt for BSc degree of at least a diploma in Agriculture. Armed with such qualification, the youths can opt for working in the agency area itself.
At present, the Indian Council of Agriculture Research has announced admissions to courses in agriculture extension, among others.
“The ICAR also gives a stipend of Rs. 2,000 for the entire duration of the course,” Dr. Kasbe informed.