Mr. Wilfred Colaco and Mrs. Ena Colaco
Coffee Farmer, Field View Estate, Sundekere Post, Sakleshpur Taluk, Hassan District, India
This true story reveals how history has repeated itself in the life of Wilfred Colaco.
“We are gifted with 2 children a boy and a girl. Both the children are married and well settled. My father William Colaco was the original owner of 120 acres of coffee in a village called Chickwoody, Arehalli Hobli, Belur Taluk. As I recall the good old days, I remember my mother Winifred Colaco telling me that during the 1930’s when I was a small boy, there was a terrible depression and coffee prices had touched rock bottom. With no other alternative my father started abandoning a few blocks of coffee farm and in a few years the coffee farm was simply a land full of weeds. As things started deteriorating further, we were left with no option but to sell the farm and move to a far off place. In fact, we bought a meadow of 25 acres with the help of my brother in law Joe. Slowly and steadily we converted this barren land into an evergreen forest and as prices started moving up we built a compact functional house and in the subsequent years bought a second hand car. This was a great achievement for us. Because of our saving nature over the years we expanded our boundary to 125 acres by buying another barren property in a near by location. Part of it was financed by the banks. We pumped in all our reserves to convert this barren land into a bio rich coffee farm and the plants were responding beautifully. Just then the coffee crisis commenced and the interest on bank loans started ballooning. We reached a point where the capital and interest were almost equal to the value of the property. Age was also advancing on my side. Hence with great pain and tears in our eyes we sold the new block of 100 acres, paid up our loans and with the little money left bought a new car and kept some reserve cash in the bank for a rainy day. The sad part of the story is that out of 10 traditional farmers, eight have sold their coffee farms and the people who have bought the farms are industrialists and speculators. To see such things in my life time is something very painful. This may be the end of the road for traditional farming.”
Credit: Thanks to Dr. Anand T Pereira and Geeta N Pereira for conducting this interview exclusively at the request of ThinkQuest Team 01639. The interview has been reprinted as provided and has not been edited or altered.