Do you have an interest in agriculture and want to learn the nuances of farming? As a matter of fact, who doesn’t love to embark on a journey into the green world of agriculture? If you are passionate about farming, then head to Thiruvambady in Kerala's Kozhikode district to meet a bunch of dynamic and able farmers on both sides of the Iruvanjipuzha.
The 10 farmers who will play host are indeed brilliant as they had been decorated with ‘Karshakasree’ and ‘Karshakothama’ awards, besides national honours. Interestingly, the farmers have proved their mettle in agriculture, animal husbandry and pisciculture, and nowhere in Kerala could you find people who have mastery over these three fields in one place. The greenhorns of agriculture can learn from the masters and can get a ringside view of quality agriculture produce. The travellers can also indulge in white water rafting and trekking. As the place is well endowed by nature, the tourists would be able to enjoy the charm of Thusharagiri waterfalls and Thamarassery churam (ghat road), among others.
The Iruvanji Valley Agri Tourism, which embraces the best agricultural farms in and around Thiruvambady, is quite different from other similar ventures. It is noteworthy that these farms had not been structured with an eye solely on tourist flow. These agricultural lands gel with nature and had come up after years of hard labour. The visitors can only be proud of themselves after buying high-quality and natural honey, coconut oil, spices, traditional delicacies and fish, thereby providing a helping hand to the farmers.
Project coordinator Aju Emmanuel says that they expect two types of visitors – those who come for leisure and others who want to learn the intricacies of farming, but the farmers are working hard to make all of them happy.
According to the initial one-day programme, the tour starts at 8.30am from Thiruvambady and returns to the starting point at 6.30 in the evening. Many packages are on offer for people who are interested in visiting the farms.
Lakeview Farm Stay
The tour starts from Jaison’s, who is involved in fish harvesting, piece of land in Plathottam. The small lake in the farm that is replete with fish weighing close to 6kg is the highlight of Jaison’s pisciculture. The visitors can have breakfast sitting in the shade of bamboo trees on the shores of the lake. If you are into angling, then you can catch fish from the lake and there are also facilities to cook them. The visitors can also know in detail about fish farming.
How about a different shopping experience? Step into Beena Aju’s eco-friendly toy unit and you can buy children-friendly toys made of wood. You can also take home exquisite wood-based handicrafts. The toys provide fun and facilitate brain development in children. The visitors can also find BM Foods, which is a value-added food processing unit. Besides virgin coconut oil, one can buy traditional delicacies such as ‘pulichammanthi podi’, ‘avulosupodi’, ‘avulosuunda’ and ‘kuzhalappam’. The unit also manufactures chilli powder, coriander powder and masalas to make meat dishes, ‘sambar’ and pickle. The masala powders are made from spices sourced from adjoining farmlands.
Panachikkal Aqua Pets
This national award winning farm uses the Israeli technology of high-density farming and is involved in rearing, sale and export of ornamental fish such as guppy and gold fish.
The readers of ‘Karshakasree’ magazine might be familiar with this agricultural garden where bees come to collect honey. The farmland of Sabu Joseph, who got the ‘Karshakasree’ award in 2016, has nutmeg, vanilla and long pepper cultivation, among others, besides swarms of honey bees. Sabu and his wife will show you how hard work can transform 4.5 acres of land into a farming paradise. One can also buy different types of honey and varieties of agricultural produce.
Farming and tourism find place in equal measure at this farm that boasts of a brook, dam and waterfall. The drawing room of ‘Karshakothama’ awardee Dominic’s house is filled with plaques, citations and scores of ‘ponnada’ which point to the fact that he is a seasoned agriculturist.
Anyone can make Dominic his or her role model in farming as he has bagged the Kerala government’s ‘Kerakesari’ and ‘Karshakothama’ awards besides the best coconut farmer award instituted by the Coconut Development Board, which comes under the Government of India. He was instrumental in putting forward some unique methods in coconut cultivation and the productive coconut saplings of his farm are a boon for the farmers. The stream in the middle of the agricultural land flows into the dam of the CIAL hydro-electric project. Dominic’s dream project is to construct a hanging bridge across the stream and build huts at the dam view point.
Boney Joseph Muttathukunnel will show you what a farmer with an artistic inclination can do. Boney’s magic fingers are creating mesmerizing pieces of art from the saplings of Lucky Bamboos. He is also into ornamental fish and cage fish farming.
The other agri-vistas of Iruvanji include the farm that rears different varieties of goats including Malabari, Beetal, Sirohi and Sojat; Thankachan’s kennel that houses various types of dogs; Areetharayil Gardens that churns out traditional sadya with vegetables grown at its kitchen garden; Kalollickal Gardens that is a perfect example of mixed farming; Malabar Egger Farm, which has received Kerala government’s award for the best poultry farm thrice; and Kairali dairy farm that has its own brand of milk and curd.
The tourists can visit seven farms per day, says Aju Emmanuel. The entrance fees and food for a day come at a cost of Rs 700 besides guide fee of Rs 1,000 for a group. When a person visits a farm, Rs 50 goes to the owner and moreover, the marketability of agricultural produce increases manifold.
“A farm owner would be able to sell at least an agricultural product to one visitor and the aim is to fetch the best price for the products,” says Aju.
The interest of visitors, prevailing season and convenience of farm owners determine which farms should be visited. Groups consisting of 20 persons and more should pre-book their visit. Plans are anvil to roll out one-day travel packages whereby individuals can take tickets and walk into the farms.
For more details, contact: 9544039294