The financing of the project and the emphasis on creating a culture of vegetable diet among the people makes the programme stand out as an example that may be emulated elsewhere.

Pallippuram panchayat has launched a novel organic vegetable production drive under the brand Muzuris Heritage Grama Pacchakkari Padhathi, after the Muzuris heritage site within the panchayat, with a view to attaining self-sufficiency in organic vegetable production.

The financing of the project and the emphasis on creating a culture of vegetable diet among the people makes the programme stand out as an example that may be emulated elsewhere.

A senior official of the Department of Agriculture said that the programme would not be driven by commercial considerations at all though the loans being made available to the households will be partially repaid through sale of vegetables produced by them. The programme will benefit from a Union government subsidy offered through Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.

The ultimate aim of the programme is to bring all the 10,000 households in the panchayat, spread over 23 wards. The first phase will cover 2,500 households. Each household will be given 25 pots, potting mixture and saplings at a cost of Rs. 4,250.

Pallippuram Service Cooperative Bank has sanctioned Rs. 7,000 for each household that joins the venture. While most households have opted for the Rs. 4,250 needed for the pots and planting materials, a few might use the remaining money to buy equipment like sprayers.

According to the plan, each household will be able to pay back their loan within a year at a daily instalment of Rs. 10 a day as Rs. 1,000 each will be repaid with the subsidy under RKVY. The daily instalment money can be raised from the sale of vegetables from the households as the Service Cooperative Bank has agreed to buy back the produce from the households.

People in Pallippuram have been producing organic vegetables in considerable quantity though no organised efforts have been made so far, said the department official.

The panchayat is handicapped by waterlogging during the rainy season and salt content in the soil during the summer season. Pots have been chosen as the proper medium for cultivation of vegetables. Land constraints, with average holdings being one to five cents, are another factor that prompted the choice of pots for planting vegetables.

Men and women from the households selected for the programme underwent a day’s training and familiarisation programme under the Department of Agriculture on Tuesday. An exhibition of organically produced vegetables and sale of seeds were part of the programme after which the Minister for Agriculture K. P. Mohanan formally inaugurated the scheme.

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