THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan made the first harvest of cowpea on the Raj Bhavan premises here on Thursday evening, it was the culmination of many months of hard work designed to make organic farming work on a two-hectare plot inside the sprawling compound that houses the Governor’s residence.
It was in February this year that a plan for cultivating vegetables inside the 23.2-hectare Raj Bhavan was chalked out.
While the Kudumbasree self-help groups were identified for implementing the project, technical advice came from the Kerala Agricultural University and the funds from the Kerala Horticulture Mission.
A memorandum of understanding was signed on February 7 and the total cost of the project was pegged at Rs.10,19,450. It was also decided that 25 per cent of the vegetables produced at the farm were for the Raj Bhavan itself while the rest would be marketed by the Kudumbasree units.
In addition to cowpea, cucumber, melon, snake gourd, ladies finger and brinjal were planted at the farm. A cropping calendar was chalked out so that vegetables would be available throughout the year.
The programme was overseen by a monitoring committee with the Secretary to the Governor as Chairman.
Now that the project has been proved workable, the Raj Bhavan is planning to set up an organic orchard.
Governor R.S. Gavai, his wife Kamaltai Gavai, Mr. Achuthanandan, Ministers M. Vijayakumar, Mullakkara Ratnakaran and Paloli Mohammed Kutty and Chief Secretary Neela Gangadharan were among those who planted mango saplings on Thursday.
Thirty mango grafts of six varieties would be grown during the first phase of setting up the orchard.