A roving farmer brings paddy farming to Perumbavoor

A tractor deployed for fallow land paddy farming in Perumbavoor.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Perumbavoor municipality has brought 20 hectares of fallow land under paddy cultivation, thanks to a 52-year-old roving farmer from Kuttanad.

Samuel Mathew, who hails from an agricultural family and owns nearly 40 acres of paddy farms in his native Kuttanad region, has been hopping around local bodies for the last 12 years, undertaking what he describes as the “Kuttanad style” of paddy farming on fallow land. Before launching his initiative in Perumbavoor, he has been to Kattanam, Mavelikkara, and Pathiyoor, all in Alappuzha district.

“We have so far arranged 20 hectares of land from owners on a five-year lease for the project being undertaken as part of the fallow land farming scheme being promoted by the State government under the Subiksha Keralam project. The land has been remaining fallow for over two decades,” said Sathi Jayakrishnan, chairperson of Perumbavoor municipality, which has been largely devoid of paddy farming.

It is a win-win situation both for the farmer and the landowners. The landowners will get paddy royalty of ₹2,000 per hectare and another ₹5,000 per hectare for facilitating fallow land farming, both one-time payments.

“The farmer will get ₹17,000 towards labour charges for each farming season and free seeds of 80 kg per hectare, using the ₹10 lakh set apart by the municipality for promoting agriculture. We are planning to increase the extent of land under farming to 50 hectares gradually,” said Valsamma K.P., agriculture field officer, Krishi Bhavan, Perumbavoor.

Starting from the third year, the lessee will pay the landowners ₹1,500, ₹2,000 and ₹2,500 per acre annually.

“We will deploy the machines and manpower for sowing and harvesting with our takeaway solely being the paddy produced. Often enthused by the output during our five-year term, the landowners take back the land to undertake farming on their own, ignorant about the many challenges involved. Soon they run out of steam and the land ends up fallow again,” said Mr. Mathew.

However, there have been instances where the lease period was extended beyond five years.

Mr. Mathew is keeping his fingers crossed about the output from Perumbavoor municipality during the harvest season scheduled for early next year, citing how the soil is not as fertile as in Kuttanad and has greater sand content.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 2:59:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/a-roving-farmer-brings-paddy-farming-to-perumbavoor/article32967593.ece

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