Telangana

Protecting crop by sharing it with wild animals

Innovation at work: Farmers use sarees to protect the bengalgram crop near Chanda (T) in Adilabad district.   | Photo Credit: S. HARPAL SINGH;S. HARPAL SINGH - S_ HARPAL SINGH

For the large-hearted Adivasi farmers of Adilabad and neighbouring districts, protection of their food crop goes hand-in-hand with giving up a portion of it to wild animals. While the Adivasi farmers are constantly innovating methods to keep the wild animals at bay, according to their belief they provide a portion to the marauding wild boars. Crop protection is the lesser discussed but one of the most important aspects of agriculture in the hilly tribal areas of the State. With sharp rise in the population of wild boars, any laxity with regard to protecting the crops could result in the farmer losing up to 80% of the crop.

Innovative ideas

Till recently, the tribal farmers experimented only with the shape and size of the traditional scarecrow to keep away wild animals and birds from their fields.

Of late, they are using an equally cost effective method of fencing their fields with discarded sarees and erecting crude noise making devices made of empty beer bottles to deters the wild boars from entering jowar, maize and bengalgram fields especially during breezy rabi season.

“The wild boars apparently flinch when their sensitive snout comes in contact with the saree. The noise made by stones hitting the swinging bottles in the gentle breeze seems to confuse the herd of wild boars,” Kova Lacchu, a Raj Gond farmer from Modiguda in Tiryani mandal of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district, explained.

Tribal belief

There is no guaranteed method for saving standing crops, Kanaka Bheem Rao, another farmer from the same village, pointed out. “When the hungry wild boars come in search of food, the watchman goes into deep sleep,” he said referring to an old tribal belief.

“If the wild boars are really hungry, the night watchman on the perch will invariably fall asleep. This leaves ample time for the animals to eat our jowar but what is surprising is that the damage is limited,” Mesram Pandu of neighbouring Loddiguda in Lingapur mandal says.

There is one more improvised ‘device’ — the thapur — made of sliced bamboo on either side of a wooden bell extended until the point where two corners of the field meet.

“Pulling the bamboo tape will move the bell which acts as a deterrent for wild boars but it needs human presence,” Bheem Rao said.


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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 2:09:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/protecting-crop-by-sharing-it-with-wild-animals/article17342027.ece

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