ASIA/INDIA - 8 March: a Catholic Sister works to promote development among tribal farmers in north east India

Tuesday, 8 March 2005

Shillong (Fides Service) -Sister Rose, a Catholic nun, works to promote development among Garo tribals in the north eastern Indian state of Meghalaya. Meghalaya is an area of tension and many small tribal farmers are threatened large land owners and industrial scale farming. The Garo people, traditionally farmers little inclined to trade, are being forced to sell their land and work for large farm owners who exploit them.
In this situation a number of local NGOs are helping the small farmers to form cooperatives, teaching them better farming methods and more profitable crops, such as rubber for example, to improve productivity and sell at more competitive prices.
One of the people engaged in this praiseworthy effort is dynamic Catholic nun Sr Rose Kayathinkara who was dismayed to see these poor farmers forced to sell their products at very low prices which did not even cover the expense of harvesting, and meant they could not provide for their family. “The main cause of the vicious circle is exploitation which persists in this area. A cooperative is the first step because massive participation of people guarantees reasonable and honest prices”, said the nun who started the Mendipathar Multipurpose Cooperative Society, thanks to which the living conditions of many poor farmers in this area have improved. “Our aim is to help strengthen their human resources in order to improve their life at the economic, social and cultural levels and according to the principles of justice and solidarity”.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 8/3/2005 righe 21 parole 212)