Kochi: The Indian Farmers Movement (Infarm), a collective under the aegis of the Catholic Church, has announced the winners of its awards instituted for differently abled farmers.
George Thomas of Thachiyath, Oonnukallu, won the first prize in the category of differently abled farmers. V Eldhose of Thottunkal, Kottappady, and A T Thomas of Akkappallil, Adimaly won the second and third prizes respectively. The winners will get a cash prize of Rs 33,333, Rs 22,222 and Rs 11,111 respectively along with trophies and certificate.
Jojo George, a student of Carmel Jyothi Special School, Machiplavu, Adimaly, won the award for the best child farmer in the differently abled category.
The awards will be distributed at a function to be held at the Vazhakulam Service Cooperative Bank auditorium at on January 20, Infarm state director Fr Jose Monippillil and president Jose Edappatt said.
George Thomas, who won the first prize, had lost his left leg to polio when he was only two. Thomas, now63, cultivates banana, tapioca, elephant yam and other vegetables in three leased plots.
Thomas, who also cultivates rubber in his own land, carries out all the works on his own.
“I believe in the principle that we should work hard to make our living,” he told Onmanorama.
Thomas starts farming at 8 am daily and toilstill 6 pm. In between with a break between 1 pm and 3 pm.
He said climbing trees and carrying weight were the only difficult tasks for him.
Eldhose, the winner of the second prize, is blind and he inherited farming from his parents. He is 62 and also does farming on a leased plot. He cultivates banana, elephant yam, colocasia and pumpkin. He has been engaged in full-time farming for the past 35 years.
Eldhose lost eyesight gradually due to nerve degeneration. “I used to have some difficulty with night vision when I was in class 6. Then the condition got worse over the years. I became totally blind 20 years ago,” he said. Eldhose does everything he could do on his own. He also climbs coconut trees and arecanut trees for harvesting. He seeks help of other workers when has to sow and harvest in a larger area. He said his wife has been of great help to him in carrying out the works.
A T Thomas had some brain development issues by birth. He was chosen for the third prize for efficiently carrying out all the farming activities at the Carmel Jyothi School.