Children save the day for farmers

Younger members of family bunk school and college to help in farms

The contribution of labour by younger members has saved hundreds of poor farmer families of the distress in farming being witnessed since last many years in the Agency tracts of former composite Adilabad district.

Even at the cost of their education, children engage themselves in agriculture activities along with their parents.

Tribal schools report thin attendance at least for a month after reopening as children go helping out their elders in either sowing the seed or administering fertilizer. Later in the season, girls above the age of 10 years contribute by taking part in weeding operations in the fields which saves precious lot of money.

"Yes, the investment is reduced considerably if you have family members working in the fields," concurred farmer Manik Rao Piple, an Andh tribal from Anji in the Agency mandal of Indervelli in Adilabad district. His children, two daughters and a son, studying Intermediate, take part in agriculture by bunking classes.

"I have six daughters and two sons, all of whom who discontinued studies at various stages of schooling and worked on my seven-acre field," revealed farmer Satla Nanu, a Naikpod tribal from Vadgaon, also in Indervelli mandal.

"At present two daughters aged 15 years and 18 years and sons aged 12 and 14 years are working with me," he added.

Talking about advantages of having family members work in fields, Nanu says he saves ₹200 per head per day towards wages of at least four labourers who would have been engaged for five days now and 15 days in different sessions later.

"This ensures that debt are manageable at the end of the season even if the crop fails," he asserted.

In case of tribal farmers, the State government’s investment support of ₹5,000 per acre under the Rythu Bandhu Scheme (RBS) is of no help currently as disbursement of money has not yet started. Only a few of the 14,590 tribal farmers, who till lands on which rights were given under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, (FRA) 2006, who own less than five acres of FRA land are likely to get the money in the next few days as disbursement in the first phase has been restricted to only those farmers who own less than five acres of land.

The Tribal Welfare Department does take initiatives every year in bringing out of schoolchildren to classrooms.

"These initiatives are not successful as desired owing to children responding to more urgent needs in the family during the agriculture season," a head master in a tribal school pointed out.

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