Terrace farmer with his Onam-time harvest

Raveendran in the paddy field set up on the terrace of his house in Thiruvananthapuram.— Photo: S. Mahinsha  

This Onam, when many head to the markets to buy vegetables and rice, 58-year-old R. Raveendran of Kochulloor will only have to climb a few steps to get whatever is required from his terrace garden.

An ex-NRI, Mr. Raveendran has been actively pursuing terrace farming since 2002. He has been cultivating several varieties of vegetables including tomato, brinjal, ash gourd, ladies finger, capsicum, cabbage, amaranth, beans, curry leaf, and green chilly on his 1500 sq.ft. of terrace area.

In addition, he has also been cultivating yam in his backyard for several years. A massive African yam which weighed 275 kg, which he harvested, had gained a spot in the Limca Book of Records of 2011. Many also visit his house to taste the sweet purple passion fruit, a native variety of Brazil.

Of late, Mr, Raveendran has been cultivating paddy in an innovative manner by reserving around 350 sq.ft. space on his terrace.

He has set up a mini-farm by creating a grid-like structure using galvanized iron (GI) pipes that are placed on the beams and pillars, thereby ensuring that the load is not concentrated on the terrace.

Uma variety

The paddy of ‘Uma’ variety is cultivated in as many as 150 plastic pots and grow-bags which have been placed on the structure.

A strong advocate of organic farming, Mr. Raveendran has been using a nutrient-rich organic fertilizer ‘Hridhayamruth’, which has been prepared using cooking waste, leftover, various green leaves including basil, neem and Siam weed, jaggery, sardines and cow urine.

He is being invited by schools, colleges and residents’ associations on a regular basis to provide his tips in farming.

He also finds time to assist those who took up farming as a serious pastime.

Mr. Raveendran has being making efforts to launch a school for imparting knowledge in organic farming with the support of the Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA).

His efforts have resulted in him bagging several awards including those presented by the Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI), Indian Agricultural Research Institute and Kerala State Biodiversity Board. He cherishes the Best Farmer award he received.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 2:55:29 AM |

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