In the school, located 2 km away from Kundrathur, experts train people in three courses -- end-to-end palm tapping training, palm-based food products training and palm leaf art products training. Viswanathan tells DT Next, “Though we started training courses last year, we have officially launched only in 2022. Palmyra is our state tree but unfortunately, the measures in saving the trees from extinction are very few. I wanted to save palm trees and their products and that’s the reason why I started this palm school. Moreover, the toddy ban has impacted fewer tappers and reduced the count of palm trees in Tamil Nadu. We mainly target urban youngsters to take up these courses. Thondaimandalam Foundation has been supporting us in this project."
For now, Viswanathan and the team are focussing only on three courses. “Palm tapping training is done by Mark William for people in the age group of 18 to 40. Since toddy is banned in the state, we are doing only pathaneer tapping. Our ancestors used to make various types of sweets from palm trees. They are nutritious and healthier than most of the sweets available in the market today. But our generation is unaware of those sweets. Akila Gunaalan is training people to make palm-based food products. Palm leaf art products are related to Tamil culture, but those products are missing from our houses. Vaagai Victoria teaches how to make beautiful products like key chains, baskets, boxes, etc, from palm trees. Instead of plastic toys, parents can gift palm leaf products to their children,” he adds.
Palm leaf tree products
Palm tapping trainer Mark William