Farmers in UP play scarecrow, dress up as a bear to protect crop from monkeys 

Manoj Tiwari of Fariya Papariya village complains of inaction on the part of forest department despite repeated petitions.
Image used for representative purpose only.
Image used for representative purpose only.

LUCKNOW:  The farmers in UP’s sugar bowl — Lakhimpur Kheri — have come up with an interesting way to safeguard their cane crop by playing the scarecrow themselves. In an attempt to save the sugarcane crop, the farmers across a number of villages in Lakhimpur Kheri are spending time in their fields under the guise of a bear to ward off stray animals, especially monkeys. 

Apart from dressing themselves as a bear, the farmers are also hiring men at Rs 250-Rs 500 to perform the same job. Rajeev Shukla of Bajrang Garh village of Kheri had bought a costume of a bear from adjoining Shahjahanpur for Rs 5,000. “This strategy is working. However, wearing the bear costume is not easy in this sultry weather, but how can I sacrifice my crop and months of labour,” he says.

Some of the farmers are even joined by their wives in the endeavour throughout the day. “We can even charge at the animals straying into our fields as we are covered by the costume,” says Shailendra Singh of Jahan Nagar village.

However, the cane farmers of the area are still grappling to find a solution to the problem during the night. “We are protecting the crops during the day time but to keep the stray animals at bay during the night is still a challenge,” says Shailendra Singh.

Manoj Tiwari of Fariya Papariya village complains of inaction on the part of the forest department despite repeated petitions. “We have approached the forest officials so many times to reign in the monkeys active in the village but they expressed their inability to tame them owing to lack of funds,” says Tiwari adding that finding no other way to protect the crops, the farmers had to resort to the technique of safeguarding the crops in the guise of bear.

In some of the villages, the farmers have even prepared a roster and they take turns wearing the bear costume and roaming in the fields. After the pictures of the farmers donning the bear costume went viral, Sanjay Biswal, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Lakhimpur Kheri said, “I assure farmers that we will take measures to stop monkeys from damaging the crops.’

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The New Indian Express