Field Visit (Ervada & Dasada)
Description of the Field (Ervada & Dasada)
Our team went to visit Natubhai’s place in the village Ervada. Ervada felt more like a small town than a village. Houses were well constructed - made of bricks and had proper water and gas connections. Natubhai’s house was made of concrete and had all the necessities like a television, table fan and proper gas connection. To reach his place, we first travelled to Grambharti taking auto multiple times and a bus. From there, all 4 along with Indrajit Bhaiya and Natubhai reached Ervada at 10 in the night in his car. We had an hour long discussion with Natubhai that night and the next day he took us to the Community Workshop set up by NIF where we studied his machinery. We also discussed with Purshottam Bhai, a simple looking farmer, who shared his views and took us to the firm. He also visited his place and his house was also well constructed. In the evening, we left for Ahemdabad but enroute, we decided to stop in Dasada and interact with the localites there. In Dasada, people have various problems. We saw them working in their houses; the place did not have the basic necessities like drainage, clean drinking water, proper roads and higher secondary classes. The various professions being practiced in Dasada were farming, carpentry, pottery, construction, brick making and music. After spending two hours, we left Dasada and reached Ahemdabad at 10 PM.
● In Ervada & Dasada, mainly traditional cotton is grown and nurtured as opposed to BT Cotton which requires more water, insecticides and pesticides.
● Further, traditional cotton is of three types: V 797, Gujrati Ekvee and Trepan Ten.
● The entire process generally takes 8 months. The soil tilling starts right after the first rain. After 2-3 rains, the seeds are sown in the field. Once done, it shouldn’t rain for 4-5 days or else, the seeds don’t nurture and the entire process has to start again.
● Gujrati Ekvee and Trepan Ten takes a month less and is grown when the farmers have less time to grow cotton which generally happens when the seeds have to be sown again and again due to asynchronous rains. The harvest has to happen before March, because hot winds start blowing towards Ervada then.
● Traditional cotton is picked just once.
● Everything right from the cotton to the residuals is used in some way or the other. The cotton is used for clothes, seeds used to make oil, the leftovers as fertilizers and cotton ball remains as fodder.
● Bullock carts do not affect soil while tractors compress soil.
● In Dasada, jeera and jowar were the main crops. Cotton was the secondary crop.
● Jeera has more risk because of optimum water and seeds requirements. Anything less or more than optimum will only lead to the entire harvest getting ruined. Bu it is more profitable.
● In jeera farming, they used machines for watering, sowing and threshing but required labor for everything else.
● The residuals of jeera harvest are taken by the brickmaker who uses it as fuel fir baking.
● Some small farmers were also working in the industries nearby but they said that farming is a better profession as they have more control and more chances of profit. In service, they only get a fixed amount every month.
● The village was segregated into different areas according to the caste and religion. Muslims, harijans and rajputs all lived in separate areas and had different jobs. Ths pointed towards a caste system that existed in the area.
● An individual who was showing us around gave us the suggestion that their children should be taught about the machines and their functioning in their curriculum so that they can be self reliant.
● We observed a general drift from traditional occupations like carpentry, dhol bajana and even farming, owing to financial security and permanent jobs in industries like Maruti and Honda.
● People adjust their lives according to the how much they earn that year and don't have a stable life.
● An individual who was working as a carpenter, said that the dust from the wood affected his eyes. He had given an interview for hond and was hoping for a positive response.
● The farmers were of the general view that they were not being valued and had a hard life due to which their next generations did not want to continue in the farming industry. They said they would prefer a life where they would require less labor.
● We went to a woman's house who used to make earthenware. She sells a unique type of chulha and tawa for cheap. Hers was a dying profession because her son and daughter-in-lawhad started stitching as a profession because pottery was very cumbersome yet not lucrative.
● The general feedback was that labour has grown to be expensive due to the set up of industries like Maruti and Honda nearby which has provided them with a better source of living and more income. Thus, the labour has shifted to another profession.
● The weeds around the main cotton crop require to be removed and there is no machine for it. This requires the use of labour which is hard to find and expensive.
● Farmers are handpicking cotton which is a cumbersome process and employs children and women also. As this process requires labour in large, again the problem for finding them arises.
● The canal set up is very far off the field and large number of pipes have to be used to get the water to the field.
● In jowar and bajra farming, till date, sickle is used which makes an individual prone to injuries, sweat and back ache. After the harvest, sometimes scorpions also bite them.
● The farmers are totally dependent on weather conditions for farming. The rains could save their produce but also destroy it.
● Weeding in jeera farming is a huge problem because the plants are very small and it is very hard to clear out the weeds.
● The people were extremely unaware about government schemes that could benefit them andthe labourers were living in a very plightful condition.
● Using the tractor for a long period of time leads to backache because it vibrates a lot. The farmer needs to control the clutch, drive in a straight line.
The visit had both its upsides and downsides. The bright side was that we got to know the ground reality of the state of villages in our country and got an opportunity to immerse in it. The downside was that we could not observe any farming as it was off seaso the farms were barren.