Kakkakottur: Like many of his ilk, Vikas had to grapple with an existential question when he returned to Kerala after spending 18 years abroad. He kept asking himself: what next?
After considering many options, he decided to take up farming in his own compound — a venture that he has made profitable single-handedly.
Eeliyoddu Chirayil Vikas, 41, from Kakkakottur in Ezhukone panchayat, Kollam, first took up plantain cultivation. He then shifted to cultivating vegetables.
That decision is yielding rich results now. He makes about Rs3,000 per day by selling vegetables that he cultivates on over 3.5 acres of land.
Vikas grows high-yielding varieties of ladies finger, yard long beans, cucumber, green chilly and papaya. He recently harvested 300 kg of ladies finger alone and over 100 kg of cucumber.
Vikas’ endeavour is mostly a one-man show using scientific methods and practical knowledge. He starts farming pretty early in the day at around 6 am and uses help rarely.
He goes to the Nedumpaikulam self-help farmers’ market to sell his produce. He also supplies his vegetables to over 15 shops in Kollam, Kottarakkara, Valiyam and Ezhukone.
Vikas said he was encouraged to take up vegetable cultivation by Ushas, an official of the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK). He also gets help from Krishi Bhavan, he said.
Despite his large produce, Vikas is worried of not being able to grow enough vegetables to meet the demand.
He is now planning a polyhouse for farming. Polyhouse farming involves setting up a greenhouse with polyethylene and it helps to increase production.