The students watched eagerly as R. Raveendran, a farmer, set about pulling out a giant African yam from his garden at Ulloor in Thiruvananthapuram. Beside him, Agriculture Minister K.P. Mohanan also did not spare any effort in helping pull out the tuber. Encouraging the duo were the children who whistled and clapped and with a final hurray, gathered around Mr. Raveendran and Mr. Mohanan for a lesson or two on farming.

As part of outside classroom learning, the children got a fair idea of harvesting yam under the guidance of Mr. Raveendran who had made it to the Limca Book of Records in 2011 for harvesting a massive African yam weighing 275 kg.

The venue proved to be the perfect occasion for heralding the ‘Bala Krishi Sastra Congress’ (Children’s Agriculture Science Congress) to be held in the city on January 24 and 25.

Mr. Mohanan joined the students from more than 22 schools in examining the various vermicomposting units and the terrace garden set up at Mr. Raveendran’s house.

For the children, the purple passion fruit garden atop the farmer’s terrace, the potted vegetable plants, and the units of home-made biofertilizers was an insight into the world of organic farming.

“We are really awed at seeing this type of farming. While most of us today are interested in white collar jobs, we cannot achieve what this farmer has achieved, a place in the Limca Book of Records. This is truly inspirational,” V. Akhil, the student leader for the upcoming congress, said.

Reviving interest

The aim of the meet, he said, was to revive interest among the younger generation in farming and related activities.

It was an opportunity to interact with farmers and understand the problems faced by them. This would also help the students to come up with feasible solutions to some of the farmers’ problems, and help them understand more about agriculture and farming, Akhil said.

The congress, to be held at the Museum Hall, will witness the participation of more than 500 students from across the State. The main theme for this year’s congress is ‘Traditional wisdom and empirical knowledge.’

“This year, the students will present a number of projects based on their experience in farming and agriculture. Research projects, those based on ‘Ende Krishi’ programme, and exhibition of agriculture produce from various schools will be the highlight of this year’s congress,” Jayakumar, programme coordinator of the congress, said.