Wild animal menace: Kollam villagers forced to take up roof top farming


Rathish Ravi

Abhilash involved in farming

Achenkovil (Kollam): There are only a few houses in Kollam’s Achenkovil village where rooftop farming cannot be spotted. They grow elephant foot yam, taro root, purple yam, banana and many other vegetables in their 'farmland'. However, they are doing it neither due to any special interest in rooftop farming nor because of any unavailability of land. For them, it is the only solace as their crops are frequently getting attacked by wild animals.

“We know that this farming technique is going to affect the strength of our concrete roofs. But we are in a lurch without any other option. Anything that we cultivate on the land will be damaged by wild boar or monkey or sambar deer or peafowl,” says Abhilash, a resident of west side Laksham Veedu Colony in the village.

They use small-sized grow bags for vegetables, medium-sized sacks for taro root and elephant foot yam, large-sized sacks for banana. Even an unusable water tank is being utilised.

Locals claimed that they can’t even plant a sapling. According to them, it will be vanished by overnight. They said that their ancestors are settled in the area 100 years ago. But the crop loss is unprecedented.

“Those good old days have passed. Now our only reliance is the income from rural employment scheme (MGNREGA),” said Raveendran Nair, a local resident. “Earlier, Achenkovil village was inside the forest. There was high demand for the vegetables that grew here four decades ago. They were transported to places like Konni using big size make-shift rafts, through the river,” he added.

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