I have ten acres of agriculture land around which there are two hundred and fifty Palmyra palm trees which were brought up by my grandfather. They serve as border fencing besides giving palm leaves besides other useful material. There was much demand for the leaves as they were used for roofs of houses, sheds and shelters. The kernels of the unripened fruits were used as direct healthy food while the juice of the ripened fruits was used for preparing jaggery. The fibre material is used for making ropes and baskets.
The times changed in the flow of time with scientific and technological advancements and transformations. I welcome and greet them with folded hands since they have the noble objectives of reducing human labor and make human life comfortable and happy. They led and necessitated social and political reforms for peaceful and harmonious social living with sense of security and equality without hunger and poverty. But, if the Nature is not protected with dedicated responsibility of each and every member of the mankind, it lands the whole mankind and also the other living kinds and beings in disastrous peril. Are we doing it? Are we not aware of it? Do we want and welcome disastrous peril?
The irresponsibility can not be denied. Our own thoughts, hands and actions are the evidence before our own eyes. How can we deny?!
The palm trees became a problem for me in the farming. We do not find youth less than 35 years working in agriculture. They left agriculture as loss and waste and opted for other works. We do not get workers who can climb and cut the leaves and fruits. If at all we get workers with great effort and difficulty, they demand rupees one hundred for hundred leaves. We have to arrange four more workers for further processing. Thus, we have to spend rupees five for a single leaf! If all that is done, nobody comes forward to buy them! The leaves are used now for cow and cattle sheds and shelters, but because of hiked transport and labour charges, they opt for alternative materials! If the leaves and fruits are not cut, they fall on the crops and destroy them! The kernels developed as hard shell seeds breed new plants and they further destroy the crops! Then, how can I solve the problem?! I am much worried.
But, I can solve the problem very easily. If I sell the land for gated community housing colony, I get huge money. If I sell the palm trees, I get rupees three hundred for each tree as they are used as burning material in brick-making. My friends and well-wishers advised me many a times to do so. They said " You incur losses every year, besides suffering from many problems and troubles. You are always in stress and tension. Why do you waste your valuable life. Why do not you sell the land and trees live a comfortable, peaceful life with lot money in your life?"
I shared my views with them. "It is easy for me to give up agriculture, but I will never do it. Agriculture produces and gives food to humans, animals, birds and all living beings. If it is left by everyone, who will produce and give food?! How can all living beings survive?! How can creation and nature survive?! Agriculture performs the functions of the Nature. It creates and builds interdependent relationship of love, friendship and service between the Nature and men, animals, birds and all kinds of living beings for survival, offspring and endless flow into the future. Agriculture by itself is Nature! It makes men live with hard work, social responsibility and builds a peaceful and harmonious social living with contentment. I can not and will not sell my lands and trees and give up agriculture for my own selfish comforts and benefits." They heard me and kept silent with a sigh of pity on me.
The other alternative is selling of the palm trees. As regards it, I have my own clear commitment. I use to explain to my friends and well-wishers.
"My grand father grew them. I see his live image in each and every tree. The green crops with the palm trees around standing in an orderly line reminds me of our ancestral agricultural culture flowing from generation to generation. How can I sell the trees and kill our culture and history? Many kinds of birds, reptiles and creatures live on them flying, running and moving on them. How can I make them homeless and foodless? Is it not killing the Nature? The green crops spread on the ten acres of land nod and gently move their heads in pleasure and happiness as if listening to Nature's music when soft and cool wind blows. The butterflies and similar flies and creatures fly over the crops in search of food and happiness being basic needs of all kinds of living beings. No language can depict these Nature's aesthetics as the languages are a mere dwarf before it! Two eyes, mind and five senses and also the sixth sense are not sufficient and enough to enjoy the Nature's aesthetics! I live in the world of aesthetic happiness! How can I kill all this life and Nature and live the life of a killer?! " My friends and well wishers hear me and keep silent with a sigh of pity on me!
I am not against advancements and developments of science, technology and industrialization as they took roots and are essential for reducing human labor and make human life comfortable and happy with sufficient money in the hands of all people. But, we do not see it anywhere in the world. Where did they come from? I regard them as daughters, grand daughters and offspring's of Nature and Agriculture. If they, in the vested interests of a negligible percentage of people, destroy the Nature and Agriculture, what does it mean and amount to?!
I learnt from my own experience that there is no problem that can not be solved and I began to search for solutions. My objective is to save my agriculture, palm trees and the Nature.
A solution flashed in my mind. There is one small farmer, Dalinaidu who is skilled in this work. I called and informed him of my problem and sought his advice. I told him very clearly" I do not expect any income from the palm leaves, fruits, kernels and other useful materials. Anyone can use them free of cost freely. I want only to protect my crops from the loss they cause me. I want to protect my agriculture, pa!m trees and Nature as it is the responsibility of each and everyone. Please advise me."
He thought over it for some minutes and said " I fully agree with you. I can solve your problem. I want your guidance. I also want some money. I have to buy two strong rope belts for support in climbing trees and return to the ground after cutting the leaves and fruits and also strong and sharp steel knives and some other tools and for other expenses. I need rupees three thousand for all this. If you can arrange it, I will make arrangements to begin the work. It is good not only to me, for some others also." I immediately paid him the money needed by him and felt rejoiced.
Dalinaidu began the work entrusted to him. He and his son begin the work early morning and cut the leaves. His wife and daughter-in-law gather them and collect at one place. Dalinaidu and his son further process them and make them ready for use. They visit the nearby villages and towns and inform the users about the availability of palm leaves ready for use. Thus they created demand, but the response is not as expected. He informed me about it and asked my advise. I thought over it and said," Now, there is no bulk demand from a single user, but there is heavy demand for sheds and cattle houses in retail. Since the transport and labor charges are hiked, even though they need them, they do not come forward. There is a solution for it. You take full load of leaves on your bullock cart each day each village and market them. I gave him some amount for initial expenses. He followed my advise. The villagers are happy as they are able to get it at their doors without transport and labor problems. The demand increased heavily.
Dalinaidu expanded his business. The demand for palm leaves and it's other materials hiked. Some owners of the palm trees came forward and asked him to make use of the material free of cost as I offered him. He is now an employer. He employs 20 men and 15 women workers every day. He purchased a tractor with his profits and uses it for supply of the materials at the door steps. He employs some of the workers for making the baskets, bags, ropes and some handicrafts with the strips, fibre materials of the trees and tender bamboos.
The kernels of the unripened fruits are a very helthy direct food. Each fruit gives three kernels in the shape of eggs as white as full moon full of natural juice. It is a seasonal produce for 100 days from February each year. He employs some women and men on the seasonal work. Thus he earns profits of around one lakh rupees each month.
My advice and small financial assistance and Dalinaidu's efforts began to bring some social changes in the lives of the villagers. These changes have inspired me to set up a cashew processing plant in the village in my own land with my own money keeping in view some social objectives but with reasonable profits to me. I do not want to grab agricultural land killing the small farmer and small agriculture using political, official and police forces. The villagers who are not addicts to the vice of drinking only will be employed in my plant. They should work half-day in my plant and the other half day in their own farming and develop agriculture. By this policy, they need not give up their own farming and go to the towns and cities for work. All the family members could live together with sense of security and happiness. The old could be better taken care of. The migrations for work to towns and cities could be stopped and thereby pollution problems. I want to make it a model project- Save Small Farmer - Save Small Agriculture - Save Small Industry- which ensures rural development with happy family and social living. I began to create awareness among the villagers about the policy of my project and take their wilful consent and approval.
The project needs rupees one crore for setting up the plant and rupees one crore for working capital for procuring cashew nuts and other expenses. I am now busy with the project. I want to develop similar projects also for healthy rural development.