A group of 35 B.Ed and M.Ed students, mostly girls, of Farook Training College on Saturday walked in confidently to the rich paddy field of a 78-year-old farmer who was badly in need of labourers to harvest the crop.
From 8 a.m. to 12 noon, the students worked hard harvesting the crop to support the farmer in his efforts to conserve traditional rice varieties on leased property.
“Chinnettan, the industrious farmer from Ramanattukara, was quite excited when we offered to lend a hand to make up for labour shortage. As members of the National Service Scheme, all of us were thrilled to be a part of the endeavour,” said Nourin Sharaf, an M.Ed student who coordinated the work along with her four-year-old girl child. She added that many in the group were exhausted after the five-hour-long work, but it gave them a different lesson altogether.
Most of the students who went to work on the field at Kuttoolangadi had no previous experience. According to student coordinators, a majority of them were from urban families who never got an opportunity to be part of such a large-scale harvesting activity.
“Seeing youngsters engaged in farming activities is a pleasure, and I look forward to their continued involvement in conserving traditional agricultural practices. A lot of learning is required to protect agriculture from extinction,” said Thottoli Chinnan, the farmer. During his interaction with the students, he recalled that his passion for farming and lessons from forefathers helped him a lot in protecting over 10 unique rice species from extinction.
The team left the field after getting hands-on experience in manual threshing and cleaning methods. They said mechanised cultivation was not adopted in the area to conserve the traditional farming. They also promised further help to the elderly farmer in his efforts to popularise rare rice varieties.