A government initiative to distribute kits of assorted vegetable seeds to 42 lakh students of 12,644 schools on the occasion of World Environment Day for cultivation in their home gardens for harvest during the Onam festival marks a major milestone in converting nine grama panchayats in Chittur taluk in Palakkad district into a live vegetable seed bank of the State. The endeavour is supported by the Haritha Keralam Mission. The packets, to be supplied to students of government and aided schools along with a letter written by Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar, have been packed in the panchayats by women beneficiaries of Kudumbasree units under the strict quality supervision of the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK). The government agency collected seeds from members of its own seed growers’ association comprising 184 families of traditional cultivators.
Quality seeds: Quality seeds and biofertilizers were used to cultivate the seeds during April and May in the rain shadow region using available water resources. “The farmers are supporting a novel mission involving schoolchildren by supplying 42 lakh seed packets. Each packet would contain a minimum of five varieties of vegetable seeds. We are making the seed sourcing and processing facility a permanent mechanism to help the State achieve vegetable self-sufficiency. Quality seeds would be supplied to all the needy, including farmers, schools, institutions, households and NGOs,” said Thomas Cheriyan, manager of the processing plant of the VFPCK at Alathur here. The agency, which completed 21 years this month, will soon start a Statewide campaign promoting organic vegetable cultivation. Talking to The Hindu, Thomas Cherian said the State needs quality seeds and seedlings to achieve self-sufficiency in cultivation of pesticidefree vegetables.
50% deficit:“The State now faces a 50% deficit in its vegetable requirements. We are attempting to bridge the gap,” he said. The packing of seeds for distribution among students has been conducted using the services of 2,000 women volunteers of Kudumbasree. All the 13 seedpacking centres in the region would be converted into permanent entities.
Ensuring supply: Apart from seeds, the VFPCK would ensure the supply of vermicompost, coir pith compost, powdered cow dung, cow urine, panchagavya, fish amino acid, EM solution, neem cakes, bone meal, grow bag, and seedling trays to vegetable growers.
600 tonnes of seed: In its 21 years of existence, the council has generated and supplied around 600 tonnes of seeds from the Alathur unit It has also ensured Palakkad the prime position on the vegetable cultivation map of Kerala.
Source : Horti Daily
Published on: June 13, 2018