PATHANAMTHITTA : Perunad, a picturesque hamlet on the fringes of the Sabarimala forest, never had paddy fields. Now, however, this highland village is witnessing history, with the introduction of paddy cultivation, which has been rolled out in the Bethany Mount valley by a Kudumbashree member and her husband, with the help of Krishi Bhavan and the grama panchayat.
Radhamani and Mohanan Pillai, who hail from Seethathodu grama panchayat, have been involved in cultivating various crops and running a dairy farm on over eight acres of land in Perunad for the past many years.
They own four acres, with the remaining land taken on lease. The duo have now leased one and half acres for paddy cultivation.
“The couple have been active here for many years. They are mainly into banana cultivation and dairy farming. Paddy farming was alien to this panchayat, until the two decided to start it with the support of the panchayat and Krishi Bhavan,” Perunad agriculture officer Sreethy T S said.
Krishi Bhavan arranged the ‘uma’ variety seeds from Kuttanad. The crop will be ready for harvest in 90 days. Grama panchayat president P S Mohanan says the local body will take all possible steps to start paddy cultivation on available land.
“We have unutilised marshy land in the valleys. We are planning to use such places for paddy farming after making them suitable for cultivation. This will be the first step towards popularising paddy farming in the panchayat,” he said.
Residents of Perunad grama panchayat, which also houses the famous hill shrine, are mainly involved in rubber, pineapple and banana cultivation.
Although tapioca, yam, and colocasia used to be also cultivated, the wild-boar menace put paid to those crops.
There are 15 wards in the panchayat, with over a 1,000 tribal families who live in the Sabarimala and Arayanjilimon wards.