Chandran Chaliyakath, hailing from Cheruvannur, is a businessman by profession. But the blooming Mumbai onion plants on the terrace of his house speak of the man’s attachment to farming.
For Chandran, onion was a costly vegetable which he used to buy from the market, till he participated in the Athma training camps, which were initiated by the State Agricultural Department.
“Belonging to an agricultural family, I was fond of farming. My passion to develop a farm garden got a fillip as I attended a few of the Athma agricultural training camps held at Vellayani, Mannuthi and Kasargod. But the space limitations in my house and premises remained a major impediment,” says Chandran.
“When I built a new house in Cheruvannur, I decided to develop a farm garden on the terrace of my house. Actually I owe my gratitude to the agricultural officers who encouraged me to attend the Athma training camps,” says Chandran.
While Chandran set up the farm garden, he was not sure about its success. But it became a rewarding venture gradually as his family members and relatives extended all possible help.
“During the primary phase of farm gardening, I cultivated common vegetables such as ladies finger, brinjal, bitter gourd and moong bean. My brother-in-law Ajayan is working with the wooden industry at Nasik in Maharashtra, the national hub of onions. Incidentally he carried some seeds of Mumbai onion with him during a vacation to his house. Four years ago, when I got the seeds I took it as a challenge to script a success story in onion farming,” he says.
“It was easy to get the plastic cans from the nearby chappal factories. I sowed the seeds in 30 cans and it was delightful to see the small onion plants growing in the cans,” says Chandran. According to Chandran, sacks turn futile after they are used for farming once.
Being an advocate of organic farming, Chandran uses a mixture of cow dung, coconut cakes and peanut cakes as manure for the onion plants.
“It is really satisfactory to consume organic vegetables and supply them to our dear ones in this age of pesticide-sprayed vegetables,” says Rajitha, Chandran’s wife.
The farmer is ready to share his knowledge and techniques about onion farming to others.
Lending a helping hand to their father’s passion are Ashna, Chandran’s daughter, and Ashin, his son.