Port Blair, Aug 22: Coconut has been one of the prime commodities in the life of the Nicobarese community of our islands. However, traditional coconut climbers are not available in most places to carry out the harvesting of the palms. In order to reduce the drudgery and promote scientific coconut farming among the tribal farmers, a demonstration programme on ‘coconut climbing devices’ was conducted under the All India Coordinated Research Project on Palms Project on 17th August 2022 at Harminder Bay village of Little Andaman Island.
ICAR-CIARI has been conducting these demonstrations under AICRP on Palms project since 2016 to create awareness among the tribal farmers in these islands. During the programme, Mr. Gopal Chandra Mandal, Tehsildar, Little Andaman Island appreciated the efforts taken by the institute in educating and empowering the tribal farmers. He interacted with the demonstrating youth about their experience and urged them to take up scientific farming to maximize their profits. Mr. Andrew Moses, First Headman, Mr. Yoseph, Second Headman and Mr. Festus, Secretary, Tribal Council lauded the initiatives taken by ICAR-CIARI in promoting scientific agriculture among the Nicobarese tribal farmers.
Dr.AjitArunWaman, Scientist, ICAR-CIARI and organizer of the programme interacted with tribal farmers and officials of the tribal council about the utility of this device for them to get their feedback about this intervention. The existing users of the device were informed that the climbing device is handy and those with no experience of climbing the palms could also climb using it. As a result, it has become popular among the tribal farmers here. They suggested even tribal women could also use the device and harvest the nuts. Under the Schedule Tribe Component (STC) of the ICAR-CIARI, an inputs distribution programme was also carried out during which 40 climbing devices with safety belts were distributed among the tribal farmers. Of these, 30 units were provided to the individual beneficiaries, whereas ten units were provided to the tribal council for common use among the tribal farmers of the village.
Further, to facilitate small-scale processing of fish, 30 mixer grinders and 25 fish de-scalers were distributed under STC to the tribal fisherman of the village. The distribution programme was coordinated by Dr. Pooja Bohra and Dr.Ajit A. Waman, Scientists, ICAR-CIARI and was facilitated by the Division of Fisheries Science under the guidance of Dr. E.B. Chakurkar, Director, ICAR-CIARI. A total of 100 tribal farmers attended the demonstration and distribution programme.