31 October, 2020

Lord, Got To Have Papaya

One man's intervention—and a thousand vegetable orchards bloom in Alappuzha

Lord, Got To Have Papaya
Way back in 1986, T.S.Viswan, an agriculture officer, sowed the seeds of a revolution at the Kanjikuzhy panchayat in Kerala’s coastal Alappuzha district. It was about cultivating organic vegetables —a revolution of the garden variety, you could say, but it transformed many lives. Till then, the means of livelihood in the region included coir-weaving, toddy-tapping, fishing and plucking coconuts. But with the yield from coconut plantations falling due to root wilt disease, the traditional coir industry in the doldrums and mechanised fishing boats running the small fisherman out of business, the people of Kanjikuzhy had to find other sources of income.

Viswan stepped in, organising his first farmers’ club in a ward of Kanjikuzhy. He demonstrated how root wilt sapped palms and how the disease could be checked. The results were convincing. The average yield-per-tree increased from 30 nuts to 50, quite commendable for Kerala where palms are confined to small homestead holdings and therefore low on productivity when compared to vast plantations.

Viswan also introduced...



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