: While the concept of campus farms promoted by the Agriculture Department as part of the food security programme is gaining popularity all over the State, students and teachers of the Anchalumoodu Government Higher Secondary School, near Kollam, have hit upon a novel idea of cultivating basmati rice in pots.
The potted basmati stalks are steadily changing from green to gold in colour and the sheaves have started drooping, indicating that they are getting ready for harvest. Renu C. Nair, Agriculture Officer of Thrikkadavur, said the harvest would be during the first week of October.
Ms. Nair said Thrikkadavur panchayat had only two paddy fields and very few paddy farmers.
In fact, the student community of the area was largely ignorant about paddy cultivation. In such a situation, when they came forward with the idea of basmati rice cultivation, it was warmly welcomed and supported by the Agriculture Department, she said.
Though it began on an experimental basis, the spirit of a farmer was witnessed in the students. The paddy seedlings were transplanted on June 17 in 50 pots. The pots were spread out on the courtyard of the school.
Though rainfall was copious, the crop did not get the measure of sunlight it requires. This caused slight delay in the crop getting mature for harvest, said C.O. Hemalatha, Principal Agriculture Officer. “Had there been proper sunlight, the crop could have been harvested in 90 days.”
Coordinator of the school's Environment Club G. Biju said organic farming was the medium used by the students and the school was preparing to conduct the harvest as a festival.
The programme has created awareness of paddy farming among the students and has given confidence that basmati can be promoted for upland paddy cultivation.
The students also realised the fact that rice is an unusual and fun plant to grow in one's garden..