Digging his fingers into a plastic basin filled with mud and waste V.B. Padmanabhan, Professor of Agriculture Extension at the College of Agriculture, Vellayani, took a handful of wriggling worms.

“This is the African Eudrillus worm. This can be a solution to all the garbage problems in our city. It can get rid of your kitchen waste while producing organic manure for your garden,” he told visitors.

The humble vermicompost is one of the key features of a terrace garden set up at the college as part of the farm expo ‘Haritotsavam 2011'. Almost all kinds of vegetables, including tubers, creepers and leafy vegetables, have been grown on this terrace garden complete with a poultry corner, beehive, and Azolla pond.

Terrace farming

“Farming on terrace is gaining importance day by day. It is a great method for people to attain self-sufficiency in vegetables, even if they do not have large areas of land. If you have a 1,000 sq ft terrace you can get up to two kg of vegetables everyday,” Mr. Padmanabhan said.

Apart from terrace farming, the expo has opened up vast possibilities for farming and gardening enthusiasts who have been given an opportunity to view the technologies, facilities, and services offered by the college.

Visitors can see the Crop Museum, Agriculture Information Museum, and the Soil Museum at the college.

A touch screen kiosk set up at the Department of Agriculture Extension acts as an one-stop shop for all agriculture-related information.

An animal expo arranged by the Animal Husbandry Wing of the college is another major attraction. Different breeds of livestock, rabbit, and exotic birds such as emu are on show.

The white-eyed Kapila, Kasaragod Dwarf, Vechoor Cow, and Chemboor Sheep from Karnataka are among the cattle breeds at the exhibition.

The Department of Home Science and Department of Processing Technology have displayed value-added products and techniques in food processing. Bio-fertilizers developed at the Centre for Microbial Technology is another emerging technology on display.

Methods to combat crop diseases and pests have been exhibited at the Department of Entomology and Pathology. An attractive display of endemic and exotic varieties of fruits and flowers has been arranged at the Department of Pomology and Floriculture.

Different agriculture promotion agencies and departments have set up stalls at the exhibition. A series of talks and seminars as well as children's competitions is being held as part of Haritotsavam, which concludes on September 24.

Zanzibar team visit

A team of officials from Zanzibar led by Vice-President Seif Sharif Hamad visited the expo on Wednesday. A college spokesperson said the focus of the visit was agriculture mechanisation and education.