Aby George, son to farmer parents George Joseph and Jophy, grew up in a tiny, water-logged village in Chempumpuram village of Kuttanad district in Kerala. The 23-year-old is set to fly to the United Kingdom after receiving a C-40lakh scholarship for a Master's programme in 'Global Sustainability Solutions'. He would be studying at the Exeter University of Devon County in Southwest England on a Commonwealth scholarship. His flight came through his knowledge of working in the paddy fields of Kuttanad, which is famous for its unique, below seal-level farming.
George spent a significant amount of time working with his parents in their five-acre paddy field at the Puthenkeri polder in Chambakulam panchayat. The New Indian Express quoted the jubilant Aby, "We earn our livelihood after fighting the vagaries of nature. Sometimes floods, and at other times, a lack of freshwater, pest attacks and many other unforeseen natural calamities have to be dealt with before completing a harvesting season. Those experiences gave me the courage to overcome obstacles and receive the prestigious scholarship".
All Expenses Covered
The scholarship provides him with a promising future. It covers all his expenses for the 12-month programme in Exeter. The young fellow reportedly developed an interest in research after completing his BCom at St Berchmans College in 2019. Later, he joined the International Centre of Technological innovations as a research associate. There, he mentioned that he gained the opportunity to coordinate sustainable projects in agriculture. Given the unique farming conditions in the district, George studied climate-resilient agriculture and disaster risk reduction in paddy farming. Moreover, his childhood experience was a massive help for him.
Farmer Organization Is 900-Member Strong
George formed a farmer-producer organization after realizing that the sector was unorganized and the farmers were unaware of several government schemes. His organization received backing from the Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium and the Agricultural Insurance Company of India for providing paddy seeds and crop insurance to the farmers. The organization has nearly 900 members now.