After keeping vegetable prices under control during this Onam season by marketing a portion of produce from its 350-acre farm, the district-panchayat-managed government vegetable farm at Anchal, near here, is now back to its main activity, vegetable seed production.
Superintendent of the farm, N. Chandrashekaran, said that after providing the share for the Onam market, the vegetables left behind had started to ripe and these were now being harvested for seeds. Seed supplies were vital in maintaining vegetable production and for ensuring food security.
The crops grown for seed production here are pumpkin, long beans, bitter gourd, cucumber, snake gourd, bottle gourd, brinjal, and chilli.
Vegetable seed production required special skill and techniques. Seeds would not be ready at the stage of harvesting produce for market. The plant should be allowed to go through further stages of growth. Production under isolated conditions ensured the purity of seeds. Special techniques had to be applied during the stage of flowering and seed development and also in harvesting.
Mr. Chandrashekaran said that as the vegetables ripened, they became more and more vulnerable to animals that targeted them for food.
Being a farm that employed strict organic farming methods, the seeds produced here had huge demand among farmers.
Mr. Chandrashekaran said that depending upon the climate, the seeds would be ready for distribution by the end of October.
Apart from vegetable seeds, the farm also produces tissue culture banana saplings and grafted saplings of various tropical fruit trees.Ignatius Pereira