During this period of lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak, several states like Kerala, who are dependent on neighbouring states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for vegetables and other produce, are striving to find a solution.
In such a scenario, 25-year-old Yadhu S Babu decision to give away all the produce from in his 1.5-acre plot, to daily wage labourers who are struggling to make ends meet is indeed worthy of appreciation.
“The vegetables are free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and many vendors who were willing to pay twice the actual rate for the produce, had approached me. But I decided to give away all of the products to daily wage labourers through Ammakorumma, an NGO I’ve been closely working with throughout my life,” explains Yadhu, a resident of Anakkara in Kerala’s Idukki district.
“My father, who is a retired bank officer is also a volunteer at this NGO,” he adds.
On average, Yadhu harvests almost 100 kg of vegetables every week from his farm. Besides cardamom and pepper, which are the main crops, there is a wide variety of beans, beetroot, bitter gourd and brinjal on offer.
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“This past week, we were able to gather enough vegetables for almost 40 homes. The volunteers from the NGO came and gathered all the vegetables that were ready and separated them into different bags so that the distribution would be easier, ” says Yadhu.
Ammakurumma has been working towards the betterment of the underprivileged, orphans and the elderly for more than 12 years now. With the lockdown being implemented, the organization has been working non-stop in providing food and necessary groceries to more than 100 houses in Kerala.
“People like Yadhu have been our driving force during times like this. When he could have easily gained profit, he decided to be a bigger man, and donate it instead,” says Sabu Kuttipala, the director of the NGO.
The Joy Of Farming
After completing a degree in Marine Sciences, Yadhu had many well-paying opportunities knocking at his doorstep, but he decided to follow his father’s footsteps and take on the risk of farming.
” I could have easily opted for a stable job with a decent salary, but my passion for farming didn’t allow me to do that. I know it’s a huge responsibility, but I know I won’t get this kind of satisfaction anywhere else,” Yadhu explains.
Although the market price for organic and regular vegetables is the same, Yadhu insists that the produce he goes will always be free from chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Standing by his decision, he says, “When my own community is struggling to fight hunger, I can’t just sit here, and keep everything for myself. This is the time to come together and do whatever we can to overcome this crisis.”
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)