Sunday, June 10, 2012

Visit to Coffee Plantation in the Coorg District

 By Olivia, Global Health '13

India has been known for it's agriculture since the green revolution of the 1960s, however not many people have seen the agricultural sector in action while visiting this amazingly diverse country. We were lucky enough to get to have this experience with SVYM when we visited a coffee plantation in Coorge,  a mountainous district west of Mysore district in Karnataka. This spectacular 125 acre estate was diverse in plants, animals, crops, labor and people who lived and thrived there. We got to see and even taste the beautiful mountainous terrain of coffee plants, trees covered in pepper vines, ginger, green oranges, avocados and even coconuts.

Women coffee workers talking to the students about health and labor issues.
(Picture above: Kelsey, GH'13 and Ashley, ILR'14, showing avocados for the farm)

Olivia '13, Marion '13, Adriana '14 and Kelsey '13
drinking fresh coconut water from the farm.

Mary, ILR'14, Karen, ILR'15, and Sindhu, Director of VIIS, in the truck for the farm tour.
The labor laws in India cover tea plantations and the coffee plantation workers here were covered as well the owner explained, minimum wage and health benefits were guaranteed to them along with housing. We were able to ask the women anything we wanted and the health risks visible to us seemed to be climbing trees and possible snake bites in the monsoon season. One of the interesting things we learned was that all of the women we spoke to gave birth at home to all of their children instead of in a primary healthcare facility, this is one of the underlying causes of maternal mortality in developing nations and although programs are in place in India for women to have birth in medical centers it is not widely done. The hope of these women for their children to be educated and have a better opportunity than they had was inspiring and we left the coffee plantation feeling hopeful for the future and excited to continue our Indian adventures. 
Students meeting the workers' children.
Workers's homes are well maintained by management in an effort to attract laborers,
 who are leaving the region to work in the cities.
Citrus from the farm.

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