KOCHI: The workers on the pokkali field at Malekkadu in Udayamperoor panchayat had a spring in their steps on Monday. Actor Sreenivasan was among them. So was M Swaraj MLA. And they made it a festive occasion, bringing to life the 10 hectares of pokkali field lying fallow for around 15 years.
It should soon wear a green cover of lush paddy. Sreenivasan and Swaraj inaugurated the sowing process, with the Pokkali Padam Samrakshana Samithy having undertaken the cultivation.
The Samithy was formed under the aegis of the Udayamperoor Krishibhavan with K A Viswambharan as the president and P K Subramanian as the secretary. Pokkali is the only paddy cultivation totally dependent on climate. It can be done only in the organic way.
The land preparation starts at the onset of monsoon. The rainwater washes away the salt in the mounds prepared and the seeds are sown. The time taken for the crop to ripen is around five months. The average yield from a pokkali field is two tonnes per hectare. Paddy cultivation is followed by prawn farming.
During the inauguration, Sreenivasan emphasised on the importance of cultivating paddy and vegetables locally for a healthy future. Swaraj M too emphasised on the need to tread the organic path. He said the patronage of Sreenivasan, a staunch advocate of organic farming, will attract more to pokkali farming. The Kerala State Seed Development Authority (KSSDA), Thrissur, supplied the seeds.
The paddy produced will also be procured by KSSDA for seed purpose at a rate higher than the market price.The labour charges will be met under the People’s Planning project.
The Agriculture Department will also provide a subsidy of Rs 25,000 per hectare for fallow paddy cultivation.