I visited coconut palms at many places in the coconut belt of Tamil Nadu, mainly Udumulpet, Pollachi, Anamalai. I learnt so many aspects to coconut cultivation, traditional talls versus dwarfs versus hybrids.. I got to meet different kinds of farmers, all very progressive and serious about farming and yet with some distinctness.. Oh yes, I feasted on delicious tender coconut and had no regular water for more than 10 hours!!
It maybe so fashionable to criticize hybrids but I could see these farmers enjoying the benefits of hybrids and the difference it has made to their quality of life. Some farmer said he educated his children in Engg college, now owns a petrol car, all thanks to these palms. One said, he has developed a coconut resort in one portion of his field from the profits derived from these palms. All in all, they were glad they were using hybrids because the conventional trees gave them no profits, just allowed them to break even!
There was one particular progressive farmer who seemed to know so much about crops, farming, issues pertaining to agriculture in India, food crises that is looming large in India etc etc... He was a living walking encyclopedia:-). He was so well read, it would have put many scientists to shame!! I would have liked to spend a day with him but I could spend only two hours with him.
My perspectives on farmers have rather been vindicated and I would certainly jump at more opportunities to interact with them