Friends Of Coconut Tree
Coconut Tree climbers are a rarity these days in Kerala and other coconut growing states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra and Goa, with very few taking on the traditional profession. Coconut climbers are a very vital link in the production chain. The consistent supply of raw nuts for the market as well as for the processing sector can be ensured only by strict adherence to the regular harvesting schedule. In many areas, farmers are forced to seek help from migrant labourers, who charge exorbitant amounts, despite not being familiar with the art of coconut climbing. 'The scarcity of labour disrupts harvesting cycles thus causing loss of income to the growers. As against the general norm of harvesting cycles of 45-60 days, farmers are currently able to harvest only once in three to four months. Though the Coconut Development Board is training unemployed youth in palm climbing, there is a reluctance to enter this field because of the occupational risk and the arduous labour involved in climbing tall coconut trees. In the recent past there has been an array of coconut palm climbing devices developed by individuals, Research Institutions, Universities and NGO’s , which are claimed to be safe and easy to operate. But in spite of all the efforts taken in the recent past, there is still an acute shortage of trained coconut palm climbers for harvesting and plant protection activities. With a serious view to tackle this problem, the Board would be conducting a massive training program to train about 5000 underemployed youth in developing special skills and confidence in coconut palm climbing and plant protection activities for the benefit of the coconut community as a whole.