The kolli hills mountain range depicts the scenic beauty and is a paradise of traditional medicines and spices. The cooler climate and frequent drizzling makes the vegetation of mountains varying from the rest of south India. That had given the nickname “poor man’s Ooty”,to this hills. The major produce of the hills include coffee, pepper, silver oak, pineapple and spices. There are also areas in mountain range where paddy and millets are being grown.
The farmers of kolli hills are having an mere acreage, that’s having the crops like black pepper, coffee and silver oak as its lion’s share. A variation from the current crop production pattern is not being considered by the farmers. Almost all the farmers are being practicing the conventional method of agriculture that’s purely organic and completely avoiding the chemicals. As a result of that pest and disease infestation is higher, and that affect the production.
One of the major problem among the pepper farmers is the infestation of wilt disease. Even now they are not able to choose a proper preventive measure to eradicate this disease. “In the Kolli hills we can see a large number of fields that are having silver oak trees climbed by brown wilted pepper vines”, said by the former president of Semmedu village.
By the effective intervention of extension agents and the agriculture authorities a number of methods for preventing this disease are being provided. The use of Trichoderma harzianum, lime application, NSKE application would help in controlling of the disease. But most of the farmers are not willing for practicing this curative measures, and leave the field as nature may cure the disease and finally leading to complete infestation of the field. Same condition is in the case of Banana bunchy top disease and the Rhizome weevil infestation.
The land holdings of each tribal farmer is very limited and hence the production is so meager that it is just sufficient to meet his personal consumption needs. No extra input are being applied to the field and the production only depends upon the available nutrients of the soil. Climatic condition of the region limit the growth of cereals and millets in this region. The irrigation pattern purely depend upon the rainfall and is having an average rainfall of 1460 mm. But the unavailability of water during the peak period is a major problem.
Kollihills is having one of the largest evergreen forest over southern part of India. The enlightment of tourism had generated, a vast employment opportunities for the youth and women in the Kollihills. The cottage industries, apiculture, ayurvedic medicines are being the major fields where tourism had been improved to the peak. Now the people are aware of the importance of education, and many educational institutions are being established around the hills, both government and private. By proper guidance and training these people can flourish into, entrepreneurs and other allied sectors by exploring the wide aspects of tourism, business, agriculture and farming.
Nikhil H G, B.Sc Agriculture, Student of Imayam Institute Of Agriculture And Technology(IIAT), Tamilnadu Agriculture University (TNAU).
Guided by, Dr.B.Guna, M.Sc (Agri.),Ph.D. Assistant Professor (Agrl. Extension) Imayam Institute Of Agriculture And Technology(IIAT), Tamilnadu Agriculture University (TNAU).