There’s mail, of seeds: 60-year-old Kerala man doing his bit for farming world
For the past 10 years, P Nizamuddeen has been sending indigenous vegetable seeds, for free, to those interested in farming, reports M A Rajeev Kumar
KANNUR: A bulk of his time is spent on writing addresses on envelopes and stuffing them with seeds of indigenous varieties of vegetables. For Pallivalappil Nizamuddeen, that is more like a prayer. “I have been doing this for the past 10 years. I don’t remember when I started, and why. But since it has become a part of my life, I do it religiously and with utmost commitment,” says the 60-year-old, now known as Nizamuddeen Kannur among farmers, friends and agriculture department officials.
It was in 2010 that, Nizamuddeen had returned to his birthplace, Panjikkeel, near Kannur, as he had stopped his hotel business at Bengaluru. He then bought around 75 cents at Panjikkeel and built a house, named Kutty’s, where he started cultivating vegetables and fruits. “Right from childhood, I have been passionate about agriculture as my father was a committed farmer,” he says. Soon, he became a part of many farmers’ collectives.
“I had started getting good results from my farm, and I thought I shouldn’t enjoy this exclusively. If I could help any other person, that would be great. I don’t remember exactly when I started sending seeds of indigenous varieties of vegetables to people.”
Somehow, the news spread that Nizamuddeen is helping people interested in farming.“Of course, I am here to support people. But I don’t send seeds to all those who approach me. From my experience, I can easily identify a person who is really interested in farming,” he says. As it has become a part of his life, Nizamuddeen started buying seeds from various agriculture institutes and started keeping it in a refrigerator he bought exclusively for the purpose.
“I keep telling those who come asking for seeds that each seed has a life inside it, and one should not destroy it. To waste a seed means destroying a life. In most cases, I follow up to ensure the seed is properly treated,” he points out. Nizamuddin says it would give him immense satisfaction if his efforts help reduce one load of vegetable coming from outside to Kerala markets.
How does he manage it without charging a single rupee?
“It is not as expensive as people think. I neither drink nor smoke. Though I can buy a car and maintain it, I don’t have one. This way, I can save enough money to support people. You can also do this,” he jokes. On some days, Nizamuddeen would send around 100 envelopes filled with seeds to the needy.
Surrounded by bottles and envelopes of various sizes in his room, he does all that with commitment. He keeps a register with names and addresses, and the varieties of seeds sent out. “I send seeds to laymen and scientists alike. The list of beneficiaries is long,” he points out. “On an average, I send at least 15 mails full of seeds each day.”
He buys seeds from the Institute of Horticulture Research Centre, Bengaluru, Agriculture Research Station, Pattambi, Veg Mark, Wayanad, Indian Institute of Vegetable Research Centre, Varanasi, and many other agriculture research stations outside Kerala. Currently, he is the vice-chairman of the Agriculture Development Committee, Kannur, and the secretary of the Farmers Extension Organisation, Kannur Block.