Kerala

On a different field, this Railway officer from Odisha reaps success

Harihar Majhi working on his field at Kanjiramattom.

Harihar Majhi working on his field at Kanjiramattom.

When his job with the Indian Railways brought him to Kerala almost two decades ago, Harihar Majhi, hailing from Kendujhar in Odisha, also brought along his passion for farming.

Flourishing backyard farming used to be a distinctive feature wherever he stayed, leaving people in the neighbourhood amazed at the fresh vegetables, which the affable man shared with them.

During his stint as the station master at Kanjiramattom, about 25 km southeast of Kochi city, nine years ago, Mr. Majhi as usual turned the property around his house into a veritable vegetable garden. Impressed by the quality of his vegetables and his dedication in tending to them, a man in the neighbourhood volunteered to arrange land for farming on a larger scale.

And, Mr. Majhi began cultivating on 2.50 acres of land. Since then, the land, which includes parcels both taken on lease and allowed to use for free, has doubled producing largely organic paddy and vegetables, for which there is a regular clientele who get it delivered at their doorstep at less than the prevailing market price.

“I hail from a family of farmers and so farming has always been a part of my life since childhood. I want to do my bit for the good health of people who seem too preoccupied for it,” said the 47-year-old man, who now serves as a chief enquiry and reservation supervisor with the Railways.

When his devotion to farming kept him away from his family for years, they chose to shift to Kerala in 2015. Now, his wife and four children are equally enthusiastic about tending to the field even as their home doubles up as a storehouse.

On an average, the paddy fields on 2.50 acres produce 20 quintals of rice a year during the two sowing seasons while the vegetable farming on the rest of the land return anywhere between three to five quintals during the peak nine months as Mr. Majhi keeps changing the crops according to seasons. While he claims that 95% of his produce is organic, he uses pesticides and fertilizers in a restricted manner when the growth is not along expected lines.

He tends to the field during the early morning hours before joining duty and the after-job hours are devoted to delivering the produce. While the majority of the produce goes to regular customers, the surplus finds its ways to shops across the city and suburbs.

Mr. Majhi has now started experimenting with dairy farming by selling five to six litres of milk to a local dairy society even as he plans to add to the single milch cow he has now.


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Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 2:21:10 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/on-a-different-field-this-railway-officer-from-odisha-reaps-success/article65539662.ece