Growing strong at the grassroots

Tom Kiron Davis left a high-paying job in Dubai to come work in the paddy fields. Years later, he is helping farmers in his neighbourhood get better returns and results

Published: 08th January 2022 06:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th January 2022 06:54 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI: Growing up in Thumbur, a small village in Thrissur district, Tom Kiron Davis spent the majority of his days assisting his father and grandfather in the paddy field and cultivating different types of spices. Born in a farmer’s family, Tom always associated himself closely with nature and found solace in its lap. 

Tom left his high-paying job in UAE in 2015 and decided to come back home and work with the soil. The youngster was welcomed by many acres of barren land. Soon, he understood that the obsolete marketing strategies followed by the farmers of his village weren’t fetching them enough income. This had forced most of them to leave farming and pick other odd jobs.

But many people in his village couldn’t wrap their heads around seeing an M A Economics graduate working in the field. “Many thought I lost my mind — choosing an unstable profession over a hospital administration job in Dubai. Farming has always been considered a low-income occupation. I wanted to prove this is wrong. The farmers here don’t require any guidance in farming.

But they incur losses during post-harvest sales, as they haven’t explored any medium other than the traditional method of selling their produces,” says Tom. Tom sowed the first set of seeds of an indigenous rice variety on the 1.5 acres of land he leased out. “It was a fallow land. I had to move the dirt, take out the weeds and level it. I had to enrich the soil using natural fertilisers like vermicompost, cow dung, and jeevamrit,” he says. After a month and a half, the land was fit for cultivation. 

Thanks to his relentless efforts, the paddy field brought a good yield in the very first year. This motivated many farmers of the Velookkara panchayat to join him. With their support, and aids from Velookkara Krishibhavan and Athani social&cultural club, Tom could turn the 100 acres of barren fields into fertile lands. Following this, many people started taking up farming on the portion of land they had leased out.

Empowering farmers
Tom wanted to put an end to the conventional marketing method of selling products via middlemen. 
“The farmers were being exploited by these middlemen who affix a low rate for their produce. My collective uses social media for promoting its products. The indigenous rice varieties that we grow are highly nutritious and has medicinal value. It has plenty of demand and it helps our farmers a lot,” says Tom.

The products are being sold on multiple platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, under the collective ‘Tom Farmers Club’. Buyers are requested to pay an advance when placing orders and the items are sent over the post. Tom also sells the products on Amazon under the brand name Pepenero.

“Farming becomes a lucrative profession only when you learn to market the products right. That or the Government has to make efforts to channelise stable income to the farmers. That is the only way to get youngsters to join,” says Tom.

In 2018, Tom received the Swami Vivekananda Yuva Pratibha Award from the state government. 
Contact: 8301082911

Rice and spices are Tom’s signature produce. When he returned to Kerala, there was not a single patch of paddy in his panchayat. But now, Tom and eight fellow farmers are successfully cultivating 12 acres of land. He has been growing four varieties of indigenous rice — Mattatriveni, Kuruva, Rakthashali and Kodukanni — for the last seven years. “Price rates of perishable items often tend to fluctuate. But spices and rice can be stored for a long time, and sold at a fixed rate,” adds Tom. The paddy grown on the rest of the land is sold to government’s Supplyco. On extra four acres of land, he grows nutmegs, turmeric etc.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp