After his small tea shop business collapsed due to Covid-19 lockdown, 50-year-old Nageshwar Rao forced to shut shop and return to his native village in the interiors in Andhra Pradesh. He decided to take up farming in order to earn daily bread for his family but realised he had no money to buy seeds or even to hire workers to plough the field.
With no solution in sight, he decided to use his two teenage daughters for ploughing the field — a job which his is usually done by oxen or tractors.
Rao, who hails from KV Palli Mandal in Chittor district, had moved to Madenapalle mandal in the same district about 20 years ago and set up a tea shop there. Like many, Rao’s livelihood was hit by the lockdown. Unable to pay his rent, and with no income- he decided to move back to his native place.
“When I moved here and started my shop, I was the only one in this area. For several years everything remined the same. But now, there are a lot of shops in this area. And ever since the lockdown there has been no business at all, I am in total loss," Rao told News18 on Saturday.
When his family moved back to his aged parent’s residence in KV Palli, his daughters suggested that he take up farming and cultivate crops in the 2.5 acre land they own.
But Rao had no money to even buy seeds. He had to borrow about Rs 3,000 for the same.
The struggle didn’t end there. He came back home and told his family he would not be able to afford workers or oxen to work in his field on rent, or even a tractor to plough the fields. Hiring ploughers is a common practice in most villages here.
“That’s when my daughters stepped in and said they wanted to help me. I told them it is a very difficult job and they will not be able to do it. But they insisted. It was a day-long work and we finished it by 4 pm. My wife also helped us,” Rao said.
According to him, field workers demanded Rs 2,000 and the tractor rent charge was around Rs 1,500 for an hour -- both of which he could not afford.
Rao and his family hope the heavy rains in most parts of Andhra, including the region he lives in, would turn out in their favour as the Kharif season begins.
“All I did was help my father. He struggled a lot to get us proper education. We moved places so that my sister and I could study better. We have no income now and this was the only way. So my sister and I insisted that we help him,” Rao’s daughter Vennela told News18.
Vennela, who is now 17, is looking to pursue further studies in medicinal field and wants to become a doctor.