The ICAR–Sugarcane Breeding Institute (ICAR-SBI), Coimbatore, in collaboration with the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR), conducted a campaign on ‘knowledge empowerment of tribals’ and launched its Scheduled Tribe Component (STC) project at Attakatti on Wednesday.
M.G. Ganesan, Deputy Director of ATR’s Pollachi division, said the ICAR-SBI took utmost care in identifying appropriate interventions for the tribal people in the tiger reserve who lived in very remote and almost inaccessible settlements. Unlike other tiger reserves, ATR was home to diverse groups of indigenous people, he said.
Referring to Malasar tribes who were of great help to the Forest Department in training and handling elephants, Mr. Ganesan said saving tribal people was akin to saving forests. He also released the extension pamphlets published by ICAR-SBI.
G. Hemaprabha, Director of ICAR-SBI, Coimbatore, pointed out that literacy rates among the tribal population was remaining low compared to the general population. Tribal people, women and children in particular, should be aware of the fact that education was essential not only for their economic development and prosperity, but also to preserve their culture, she said.
D. Puthira Prathap, Principal Scientist and nodal officer of STC, said interventions by the institute for implementing the project were finalised based on a systematic need assessment by conduct of focus groups among two tribes namely Malasar and Malai Malasar belonging to the tribal settlements of Nagaroothu-1, Nagaroothu-2, Old Sarkarpathy, Chinnarpathy, Koomaatti and Paalakinaru.
He said the tribal community in these settlements would be educated on setting up and maintaining a nutrition garden and kitchen garden seed kits would be distributed during the campaign on ‘knowledge empowerment of tribals’.
Along with distribution of radio sets, the tribals were being informed of programmes that could assist in their knowledge empowerment. ICAR-SBI was also distributing farm tools, household items and seedlings to the tribal folk in the villages, he added.
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