He collects seeds of vegetables he grows and sells them at krishi melas. The bank of seeds as named by him "beeja siri" has completed a decade now.
“Vegetable cultivation saved my family when arecanut prices fell steeply a decade ago,” said Billampadavu Narayana Bhat, a farmer near Vitla in Dakshina Kannada.
It was in 2001, said Mr. Bhat, prices of arecanut fell steeply by Rs. 130 a kg. The prices fell from Rs. 165 a kg in 2000 to Rs. 35 a kg in 2001.
“Adikeyalli sothaga badukisiddu tarakari,” Mr. Bhat said.
He said since then he had been cultivating vegetables on a large scale though he began on a small scale in 1998. What is special in it?
Mr. Bhat said that he had been preserving the seeds of different varieties of vegetables grown organically since 2002.
According to him, they are not hybrid varieties. The bank of seeds as named by him “beeja siri” has completed a decade now.
He said that he had been preserving the seeds of 30 to 35 varieties of vegetables grown by him.
They include balli badane, gonchalu here, kariyala harive, gidda paduvala, midi southe, alasande, and the like. He has five varieties of bende (okra) — red, green, white, Sri Lanka and bahu varshika. The four varieties of alasande (cowpea) include red, smaller one and longer one and Katpady bagade.
Mr. Bhat sells them to farmers in krishi melas and other fairs.
“Kariyala harive grows up to nine feet. Tasty bonda can be made from this. About 250 bondas can be made from a stem,” he said.
Mr. Bhat said that healthy seeds could be obtained from the first crop of vegetables harvested.
He said during moratorium on deep sea fishing for two months during monsoon, there would be a good demand for vegetables in the district.
Farmers could make use of this for marketing of vegetables.
Mr. Bhat propagates cultivation of vegetables on terraces.
He said that he had been guiding 25 people in Mangalore who had been growing vegetables on their terraces.
The Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat invites him as a resource person for workshops on terrace gardening and cultivating vegetables.
Billampadavu is 10 km from Vitla and 5 km from Adyanadkka on Vitla-Kasaragod road.