Former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) P.K. Hormis Tharakan considers farming as a worthwhile occupation.
He has proved his mettle in agriculture by undertaking Pokkali farming in 15 acres of his ancestral land at Thaikkattussery in Aroor.
“Going back to nature was certainly a satisfying experience though the returns did not appear to be encouraging,” he told The Hindu , after launching the harvesting operations.
Mr.Tharakan had sown the Chettivirippu variety of paddy, suitable for farming in waterlogged Pokkali fields, about four months ago. Farming was being taken up in the field after over two decades.
“Though there was pest attack, we managed to control it through traditional methods, without using chemicals,” he said. Several valuable lessons learned would guide him in future attempts, he said.
The farming was undertaken under a scheme floated by the Agency for Development of Aquaculture Kerala (ADAK). The scheme envisages taking up Pokkali farming and aquaculture successively on the same field.
“The government has been initiating several measures to promote farming but the relevant information is not getting disseminated to the beneficiaries,” Mr.Tharakan said.
He lauded the provisions for providing aid to strengthen bunds and other infrastructure to facilitate Pokkali farming. The environment-friendly agricultural practice could also benefit the farmer as Pokkali rice has received geographical indication tag.
Mr.Tharakan underlined the need for more technological innovations to help the farmer. “There is a need for transplanting and harvesting machines suitable for use in waterlogged areas,” he said.
Mr. Tharakan was born into a traditional agricultural family. He was one of the 12 children of Thekkanat Parayil Kochu Pappu Tharakan. He became Director General of Police of Kerala in 2003 and head of RAW in 2007.