KARIMNAGAR: Blame it on the vagaries of nature or cruel destiny. It’s tough time for the real sons of the soil.While failure of monsoon for two consecutive years have landed farmers in debt trap, some are fighting bears to collect forest fruits to support their families. Many farmers have found jobs as construction labourers, while a few have turned vendors, selling custard apple at the market in Karimnagar.
The start of custard apple season has come as a boon for many farmers in the villages bordering forest areas of Karimnagar. The farmers, who were struggling to make both ends meet due to the prolonged dry spell are plucking custard apple fruits from the forest and selling them in the market to earn a living.
While the men go to the forest and collect the fruits, the women, especially members of tribal community, take the fruits to the market and sell them.
Waiting for a customer at the Telangana Memorial, Perumandal Chilukamma of Katikenapalli village lamented that she has been compelled to search for other means of livelihood, as her two acres of land has turned barren due to scanty rainfall. While her husband Shankaraiah migrated to Mumbai in search of a job, she started selling custard apples to raise her three daughters.
Vempalli Bhagya of Yellapur village said her family has stopped cultivating paddy due to lack of irrigation facilities. “We are now selling fruits to sustain our lives. These fruits are helping us to earn some income during these difficult times,” Bhagya added.
According to the farmers it is a challenging task to enter the forest and collect the fruits. As custard apples have started ripening, bears have been frequenting the hillocks bordering villages, making it difficult for farmers to enter the forest and collect the fruits. The farmers are moving in groups to scare off the bears. The fruit season will end in December.