Ernakulam district panchayat to introduce educational farm tourism project

Paddy farming underway at the State Seed Farm in Okkal

Paddy farming underway at the State Seed Farm in Okkal

As Ernakulam district panchayat goes ahead with turning the State Seed Farm at Okkal into a certified organic farm, plans are also afoot to introduce alongside an educational farm tourism project for wooing younger generation into farming and enlighten them on carbon neutral farming methods.

The project, which is already underway on a trial basis, aims at making farming and nature conservation attractive to the youngsters thus drawing them into farming. Under the project, the visitors will get to spend a day at the farm spread over 32 acres with paddy fields, duck and vegetable farms, seed production, aquaculture along the MC Road.

“The majority of the existing farm tourism projects are only about tourism with no farming-related takeaways for the visitors. We want to change that and give visitors, especially children, a peek into farming, related technologies and importance of playing a role in climate action through carbon neutral farming methods,” said Philipgi K. Kanatt, assistant director, State Seed Farm, Okkal.

The project proposed at an estimated cost of ₹20 lakh for setting up the requisite infrastructure is likely to receive the nod at the meeting of the District Planning Committee next month. An amphitheatre, a tree hut, and a kitchen garden model on sustainable urban farming methods on limited space, including on rooftops, and garden benches are some of the infrastructure facilities to be set up as part of the project.

The farm tourism project will comprise of a theory class on farming followed by an extensive tour on foot of the farm facilitating the identification of different species of farm produce and even planting seeds on muddy fields. Though primarily meant for school and college students, it will be open for people of all age groups and families. Considering that it is located just 10kms away from the Kochi airport and within the limits of an established tourism circuit covering places like Kodanad and Paniyeli Poru, the farm tourism project could also be used to woo in foreign tourists, said Mr. Kanatt.

The project has already evoked considerable interest with the Botany students of Scared Heart College, Thevara, visiting the farm recently. The college has even evinced interest in collaborating with the farm for academic purposes. Similarly, resident’s associations of apartment complexes have inquired about arranging a day out for the children at the farm.

A farm training centre offering certificate courses to agriculture undergraduates and entrepreneurs is also on the pipeline. Already, nine such undergraduate students were given a three-week-long training. The idea is to give exposure to the participants in diverse farming activities.

“We will offer the participants handholding for setting up their own nurseries and then provide technical consultancy as and when needed,” said Mr. Kanatt.

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Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 6:58:40 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/ernakulam-district-panchayat-to-introduce-educational-farm-tourism-project/article65569691.ece