Farming Day

15th July 2015

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3 weeks into our time in Kothanur we got an opportunity to learn how to farm from one of the villagers by working on his land for a day. This was a chance for UK Volunteers (UKVs) and in-country Volunteers (ICVs) to learn about Indian agriculture, how the Indian farmers grow the crops, how they feed the crops and what pesticides they use as well as getting to know Erathaiah, who is an influential man in the village.

Both the UKVs and ICVs were excited about our day of farming, looking forward to the hard work and finding out how the majority of Kothanur villagers spend their working days. The land we were working on was a 20 minute walk outside of the village and set in the mountains, providing a beautiful landscape. Erathaiah’s farm seemed massive and a bit daunting but once he lead us to a small crop of banana trees we were excited to get stuck in.

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Our job was to fertilise around 800 banana trees, using a bio-fertiliser made from cow dung. It was smelly but satisfying work and even though we were all tired out by the end of it, it was fun to feel like a farmer for a day. The team worked well together, getting a convoy system going for extra efficiency and we definitely felt like we earned our lunch! Erathaiah and his family were incredibly kind and welcoming and provided us with a delicious lunch of sambar, chapattis, rice and even chicken for the meat eaters.

The whole experience was exhausting but eye opening­­ and made even better by the fresh thunder coconut we got to drink at the end, picked straight from the tree.

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We have also visited a nearby village, Playa, for an agriculture fair by the Department of Agriculture. Our reasoning for visiting the fair was to gain knowledge about kitchen gardens; a concept similar to a small vegetable patch, and composting. Here we also learnt about Bio fertilisers and seeds and met influential members of the Agricultural and Horticultural departments, and numerous other NGO members.

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