A farm that sowed seeds of change

The government seed farm in Aluva is a demonstration of integrated agriculture.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Aluva Government Seed Farm, in its 101st year of operations, has had many firsts to its credit. Among them is its status as India’s first comprehensive organic seed farm, driven by the vision of local produce and healthy eating.

The farm was commissioned in 1919 and named ‘Krishi Padasala’ (a school for agriculture) under royal patronage. It has grown since then and, this year, the seed farm won the Haritha Keerthi Award, instituted by the Agriculture Department, for the best government farm in the State. The agricultural officer at the farm, Lissymol J. Vadakkot, has been recognised for her contribution to turning the farm into a one-stop shop for farmers.

The scenic 13-acre farm is located on an island in the Periyar river and has set an example for comprehensive farming experience. There is a live paddy museum, with traditional varieties of rice in Kerala being cultivated as a field class for visitors.

The importance of promoting traditional Kerala rice varieties came during the centenary year 2019-20, said Ms. Vadakkot. Since then, varieties such as Raktasaali, Golden Njavara, Japan Violet, Vellathondi, Vadakkan Vellarikaima and Jaiva have been cultivated at the farm for creating awareness. The farm has also been regularly supplying seeds to farmers. The agricultural officer said Jaiva was close to the traditional salt-resistant Pokkali variety, while the Japan Violet was a north Kerala variety and that the plants were violet in colour. The demand for traditional varieties was such that only Kaima and Jaiva seeds were available at the seed farm at present, added Ms. Vadakkot.

The farm has also been following integrated agriculture with local breeds of cows such as Kasaragod Kullan, Malabari goats and Kuttanad ducks providing manure for the farm. There is also an aqua farm, that cultivates genetically improved farmed tilapia (GIFT).

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 1:01:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/a-farm-that-sowed-seeds-of-change/article33646513.ece

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