Recently, the city Corporation council approved a request from the mission to install a seed-vending machine at Saphalyam Complex here.

The State Horticulture Mission will soon install more automatic vegetable seed-vending machines in different parts of the city.

Recently, the city Corporation council approved a request from the mission to install a seed-vending machine at Saphalyam Complex here. The machine, which has already been installed near the Krishi Bhavan office at the shopping complex, will get operational from next week and will dispense assorted and un-assorted vegetable seed packets.

“The Horticulture Mission introduced the machine at its office here around three months ago. From the beginning, we have had good response, with around 50 people using the machine to buy seeds daily. So we decided to install more machines in the city,” Horticulture Mission Director K. Pratapan said. The mission took up the project as a follow-up to the Peri Urban Vegetable Initiative scheme under which vegetables are farmed on the terraces of more than 30,000 houses in and around the city, Mr. Pratapan said.

“The terrace farming project was quite successful with more than 40 per cent of our beneficiaries moving to second and third crops. They come back to us for seeds for their next crop and we have to direct them to the Kerala Agriculture University. To avoid this inconvenience and to sustain the terrace farming initiative we came up with the idea of installing seed vending machines in different parts of the city,” he said.

The machine when fed with a Rs.10 note will spit out quality seeds. Seeds of vegetables such as amaranthus, brinjal, tomato, beans and okra can be bought. The machine, custom-made for the mission by a New-Delhi based company, costs around Rs.2.13 lakh. It will have an attached cold storage to store the seeds in order to keep them fresh. Unsold seeds will be replaced at regular intervals.

Mr. Pratapan added that the mission was also planning to install the seed-vending machine at the railway station and KSRTC bus stand in Thampanoor.