THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When he followed in his father’s footsteps in farming at a tender age, K P Divakaran had not imagined that agriculture would bring him fame in future. This 63-year-old farmer, hailing from Peruvayal, Kozhikode, is the winner of the award of excellence for his outstanding performance in the implementation of various components under the Vegetable Development Programme of the Kozhikode District Agriculture Department, this year.
The award, comprising a memento, a citation and a cash award of `10,000, is more than an encouraging factor for the middle class farmer. “I look upon the award as a recognition of my effort,” smiles the lean man while harvesting ripe bananas at his plantain farm. “With the cash award I am planning to try out new crops in my farm,” says Divakaran, who keeps farming first in his list of priorities. His cluster received the award for the best cluster in the district.
A dropout from Peruvayal UP School, Divakaran took farming as a full-time job to help his father make both ends meet. Uncertain about the satisfaction and comfort level offered by the title of a farmer, he left farming when he was 20.
Without getting a decent job he returned back to farming in his 30s. Asked what he receives from farming, he says, everything. In his 50 cent land, he cultivates plantain, bitter gourd, pumpkin, spinach, tapioca, long beans and many more.
“I am rooted to the soil and rarely do I take my feet off from my field. For the past 33 years I have been following conventional farming methods in my farm.” When asked about experimenting with farming, he says, “I am not from a well-off family and still I am not in a position to experiment with farming. A simple mistake made during new experiments may wholly affect the entire cultivation,” he says.
Divakaran himself sells vegetables to customers without the help of a middleman. “What keeps me close to my customers is the absence of a middlemen. After finishing my works at my farm in the evening I go for door-to-door delivery of my produce. “I have never returned home with unsold vegetables,” he says.
In his words, enough water and manpower are available, but the unavailability of land is a major problem that farmers come across in Peruvayal. You can hardly find a land lying underutilised in the small panchayat. Thanking the Agriculture Department for its support, he says the department encourages farmers by providing them with new seeds and imparting knowledge on the use of bio-fertilisers. “They also give us a free hand in cultivation,” he says.