Koothattukulam: The backyard of a dilapidated police quarters here in Ernakulam district was a picture of neglect as residents started to move out of it. Soon it was overgrown with weeds and creeper plants, and infested with snakes. Today, the one-and-a-half acre land has undergone a sea change as a group of Janamaitri police personnel decided to raise vegetables and fruits there, though papayas dominate.
The transformation is quite evident with the concerted efforts of the cops. There are no eyesores anymore; scores of papayas there give a soothing sight to anyone.
As many as 52 Red Lady papaya trees dot the vegetable farm.
Twenty kilograms of produce are expected from one papaya tree and one tonne of papaya fruit in one season.
The Red Lady variety of papaya treee grows fast and have a good yield. As these papaya trees won't grow taller than 10 feet, it is easy to harvest fruits from them. The harvested papayas won't lose the freshness for two weeks and this feature only increases the marketability of these tropical fruits.
The papayas fetch Rs 30 per kg in local markets.
Inspector K R Mohandas, SI K Briju Kumar, retired SI P S Sabu, senior civil police officer Siby Achuthan, Janamaitri Police convenor P C Markose and local residents' association president Baby Alunkal were present during the first harvest.