Kerala

Wild animal menace: farmers independently take up solar fencing in Kozhikode

Solar fences recently erected around a farm at Thiruvambadi, which is under the threat of wild boars.

Solar fences recently erected around a farm at Thiruvambadi, which is under the threat of wild boars. | Photo Credit: K. RAGESH 

With no initiative or funding from the Kerala Forest Department for installing solar fences along forest borders to prevent wild animal encroachment, many rural farmers have started installing fences independently to protect their crops.

Majority are those who recently replanted rubber for a steady income in the wake of falling prices of various food crops and the risk in continuing with the crops’ large-scale cultivation amidst the increasing wild animal menace. Local entrepreneurs trained in solar fencing are also cashing in on the situation.

Also read: Explained | Kerala’s escalating human-wildlife conflicts

“The cost will come around ₹1.5 lakh for a small fencing project in about a 500 metre area. Options are aplenty for its customisation based on the requirement and funds,” said an experienced solar technician from Kakkadampoyil village. He said there were many farmers from areas such as Anakkampoyil, Poovaranthode, and Kakkadampoyil who completed the works independently as there were no other feasible alternatives.

Though there have been promises on the part of various departments to realise the fencing works, farmers from many upland villages allege that no progress has been made. According to them, the time-consuming submissions and approvals for the project is testing their patience.

Wild boars

“My land is not close to any forest area, but the attack of wild boars is a serious issue in my rubber plantation. I had no other option but to complete the power fencing using my money,” said Johny Manimala, a farmer at Thiruvambadi. He said that the effort was fruitful in preventing the animals.

Proper maintenance

Farmers who have installed solar fences in the nearby villages attest that the proper maintenance of the system can assure a trouble-free operation for at-least three years. The batteries may have to be serviced or replaced after the specified period, but periodical maintenance can assure better results, they added.

Noticing the farmers’ toil, local body administrators from Koduvally block panchayat said there were concerted efforts on the part of various panchayats to pool together their Plan funds and jointly realise the solar fencing works in some of the most vulnerable areas. According to them, a mega project covering about 85-km distance with the technical support of the Forest Department in panchayats such as Thiruvambadi, Kattippara, Puthuppadi, and Kodenchery would be a reality soon with an estimated cost of ₹60 lakh in the first phase.


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Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 3:59:58 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/wild-animal-menace-farmers-take-up-solar-fencing-independently-in-kozhikode/article65741157.ece