THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Siju Sivanandan, a Kollam-native who was in the Navy, is now enjoying his retirement days by doing something productive. In 100 square metres of land, Siju has set up a kitchen garden with long beans, cucumber, tomato, green chillies, ladies finger and amaranthus. Three months into polyhouse farming — a technique where crops are grown under controlled environmental conditions — Siju has already got his first yield.
“On ships, fresh food was always a privilege. Trying my hands at farming was part of my retirement plans. It is hard to find enough land for mass cultivation. So I needed a productive method which requires less space. Six months after my retirement, I came across a Youtube channel which featured polyhouse farming and I was hooked. I spoke to the members of the Krishikarna project and thought of setting up a live kitchen garden,” shares Siju. “The output was good. I am planning to grow vegetables such as red ladies finger and leafy vegetables next time,” he says.
Last year, Srijith A Kumar, a Thiruvananthapuram native also set up a polyhouse on his one-acre land. He grew cucumber, beans and spinach there and has already got the first harvest. “The harvest was good and I have been able to sell the produce to the nearby residents. We also have mushroom, fish and goat farming,” says Srijith.
The Krishikarna project is a joint initiative of the State Agri Horticultural Society (SAHS) — the government-accredited cooperative society involved in promoting agri-horticultural practices, the city-based NGO Sustainable Foundation that promotes sustainable development and Qore3 Innovations and a startup providing training and technical support to farmers in agricultural practices.
Aneesh N Raj, agronomist with Qore3 Innovations, says, “Under the project, more than 30 mini-polyhouses have already been set up across the state. A proposal has been submitted to SAHS to revive failed polyhouses. We can provide awareness about crop cultivation and its nurture. Polyhouses can be set up in just two cents. Our team members will inspect the harvest site and help the farmers”. According to him, currently, there are more takers for polyhouse farming in the state, since the new projects are a success.