Bio-fencing as permanent solution to protect standing crops from wild boars in Utnoor

ADILABAD: The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in coordination with the forest department has come up with a plan to help farmers check their crop losses caused by wild boars.

Farmers are using the Karonda plant, or Carissa Carandas, which are also known as Vakkayalu or Kalivi Kayalu in Telugu for bio-fencing to protect the crops from animal invasions. 

Wild boars are causing huge losses to farmers by destroying standing maize, jowar, cotton and paddy. As per rough estimates, 30 to 40 per cent of the crop yield is being damaged thus. Also affected are the cotton un-busted bowls (Patti Kayalu) due to this menace.   

In the past, the forest department used to pay compensation to the affected farmers but that has been stopped. 

Adivasi farmer Jaku Patel of Bheersaipet of Utnoor said the wild boars had destroyed or eaten away nearly half of their crops. The bio-fencing method would help them save their crops, he said.

The wild boar population is high in the Adilabad region and they live in the hilly areas and amid the bushes on the outskirts of villages, especially in tribal areas close to forests.

Venkat Anagandula, WCS coordinator, said the Wildlife Conservation Society wanted to rescue the distressed farmers from wild boars and save their standing crops.

“We are encouraging these farmers to plant ‘Vakkaya’ (Karanda Carissa). This is a fruit-bearing plant that will also act as bio-fencing once the plant raises up to 1 to 1.5 metres. WCS has distributed 20,000 plants to the farmers — some 400- 500 plants to each of the 50 affected farmers in Adilabad, Nirmal and Komaram Bheem Asifabad districts.

The plant will bear fruits after four years and can be consumed as dry fruits or used in the making of pickles.

The Vakkaya plants will have thick spines or thorns that will prevent wild boars and other animals from entering the agriculture fields. Thus, standing crops could be saved.

“This will be a permanent solution to protect standing crops unlike the iron fences or Bamboo fences that need to be changed now and then,” Venkat said.

WCS distributed the Vakkaya plants in Gundala in Tiryani mandal in Komaram Bheem Asifabad, Islampur in Kadam mandal in Nirmal district and Jangapur, Motiramguda,  Ramnagar, Thukaramguda, Cheruvuguda, Gonduguda, Kannpur, Devanagar, Pitlaguda, Laxmipur villages in Utnoor mandal and all Adivasi guddems in the fringes of forests.

The state government had earlier issued a GO giving permission with guidelines to the gram panchayats to kill wild boars by engaging expert shooters. But, such efforts were not fruitful. An expert shooter came from Hyderabad but could kill only about five of them in Boath mandal.

CCF and field director of Kawal Tiger Reserve, Vinod Kumar, members of the National Tiger Conservation Authority Nitin Kakodkar and RK Singh, and coordinator for the Centre for People’s Forestry, Ravi, distributed Vakkayalu to the tribal farmers at Beersaipet in Utnoor mandal in Adilabad district on November 8.

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