A beginner farmer is making it big with turmeric cultivation in Wayanad.

A rich, fertile land and a fecund imagination are combining to make Pazhayangadi, near Vellamunda, in Wayanad a prominent turmeric-growing village of the State.

It all started on the initiative of Muhammed Busthani of Thotathil, who never had a hand at turmeric cultivation before. Now his Bucca Farms is ready to shower yellow dust and the fragrance of the spice in all its abundance.

“This may be the largest farm growing a single variety of turmeric in Kerala,” B. Sasikumar, Principal Scientist, Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR), Kozhikode, says.

On 18.5 acres

A recent visit organised by the institute to the farm, 18.5 acres of leased land, proved the enthusiasm of the 42-year-old farmer.

Three years ago, Mr. Busthani was at a crossroads after leaving his job in New Delhi. A year later, a three-day farmers’ seminar organised by the IISR helped him find his calling.

“After hearing the experts and the success stories of farmers at the seminar, my friends and I decided to go for turmeric farming; the crop is practically left alone by pests and gives good profits,” Mr. Busthani says.

He bought one tonne of the seed rhizomes of “Prathibha,” a new variety of turmeric developed by the IISR, from a farmer delegate at the seminar. The friends formed a trust called Bucca Farms and started turmeric cultivation on an acre of leased land at Sulthan Bathery.

“We harvested more than 17 tonnes of turmeric in January 2012. Of this, Mr. Busthani dried nearly 100 kg and powdered it. The colour, aroma and taste of the ‘Prathibha’ variety are unique, and he gave half of the harvest to his neighbours,” he says.

The friends planned to multiply the crop, taking on lease the land at Pazhayangadi and planting the rhizomes five months ago.

The farm adopted the packages developed for turmeric at the IISR, all, even fertilizer application, targeted to get a yield of 20 tonnes an acre, he says.

The team developed an innovative agriculture implement with the help of local skilled workers for making the beds to plant turmeric.

“We are planning to make value-added products from turmeric after harvest and market them under a brand name,” Mr. Busthani says.

The team is planning to visit Erode in Tamil Nadu to learn more about farm mechanisation for turmeric cultivation and processing. “Our dream is to set up a fully mechanised farm in seven years,” he says.

Mr. Busthani was one of the farmers identified for scientific cultivation of the Varada variety of ginger under the National Agricultural Innovation Project of the IISR on multi-enterprise farming models to address the agrarian crisis of Wayanad.

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