Kechery (Thrissur): Farming can be rewarding if crops are raised wisely taking into account the state of the land and availability of inputs. Unnikrishnan Vadakkumchery, a young organic farmer based at Puthur in Kaiparambu here, collects 40 tonnes of vegetables every year from 1.5 acres. He has won the award of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for reaping a bumper harvest with his innovative organic farming methods.
His agricultural practices is worth emulating. Unnikrishnan does not use pesticides at his farm. He always conducts soil analysis before planting. In case any element is deficient in the soil, he adds it. Organic fertilisers like goat manure, chicken manure and neem cake are used along with earthworm compost to prepare the bed.
Over this bed, polythene sheets with perforations at specific distances are laid and seeds sown. "Vegetable plants need only one litre of water a day. Any excess amount leads to a decreased yield," says Unnikrishnan.
He employs drip irrigation and engages in shift cultivation on 1.5 acres. He initially sows seeds in the first 50 cents and when it is ready for harvest, prepares the next 50 cents for sowing. As a result, he is engaged in farming activities throughout the year.
He also practices vertical farming, where long beans and bitter gourd are grown.
In 2016 he had won the award for the best vegetable farmer in Thrissur district. Incidentally, Unnikrishnan was computer technician before he turned a farmer.
In all, Unnikrishnan’s farmland extends to 10 acres adjacent to his house.