Horticorp’s mobile units will bring ethnic vegetables to housing colonies

In about a fortnight’s time, housing colonies in the city will have a mobile unit making rounds, selling ethnic vegetables, or rather, vegetables that are usually not found in the everyday vegetable market.

The concept, titled ‘Safe To Eat Ethnic Vegetables’ (STEEV), is the latest offering from the Kerala State Horticultural Products Development Corporation (Horticorp) after its highly successful ‘Haritha’ mobile vegetable units. The STEEV project, according to Horticorp chairman Lal Varghese Kalpakavadi, will attempt to offer 33 varieties of vegetables, starting from ‘vazhapindi’ (banana stem), ‘chena thandu’ (elephant yam stem), ‘chembu thalu’ (taro stem), ‘sheemachakka’ (breadfruit), and going up to ‘madhura kizhangu’ (sweet potato), ‘koova’ (arrowroot), ‘idichakka’ (tender jackfruit), ‘moringa’ leaves and chakkakuru (jackfruit seeds) as well. The aim, Mr. Varghese told The Hindu, was to save some of these vegetables from extinction and to encourage more farmers to take up cultivation of the same.

“Once they are assured of procurement and sale, they will cultivate these vegetables, many of which are not even known to the young generation. Around 150 to 200 farmers in places such as Nedumangadu, Vithura, Meenangady, Sultan Bathery, and Kalpetta have agreed to give us their produce. We are planning to visit Attappady to get farmers there too to join,” Mr. Varghese said.

Two units initially

The idea is to have two mobile units making rounds of the city in the initial stages, and if the response is as good as that to the ‘Haritha’ model and the recent ‘Nenthra Kalavara’, to increase the number of units. There are plans to take the concept across the State. The vegetables will be offered at affordable prices. Public awareness would be created on the medicinal and nutritional values of vegetables. Though October 17 has been fixed as the launch date, the final modalities are being worked out