While the concept of campus farms promoted by the Agriculture Department as part of the food security programme is gaining popularity all over the State, students and teachers of the Anchalumoodu Government Higher Secondary School near Kollam thought of trying a hand with basmati rice cultivation in pots.
Their attempts did not go waste. The potted basmati stalks are steadily changing from green to gold in colour and the sheaves have started drooping indicating that they are getting ready to be harvested. Renu C. Nair, Agriculture Officer of Thrikkadavur said that the harvest will be during the first week of October.
Ms. Nair said that Thrikkadavur is a panchayat with just two paddy fields and hardly any paddy farmers. In fact the student community of the area is largely ignorant about paddy cultivation. In such a situation when they came forward with the idea of basmati rice cultivation, it was warmly welcomed and supported by the Agriculture Department, she said.
Though it all began on an experimental basis, the spirit of a farmer was witnessed in the students. The paddy seedlings were transplanted on June 17 into fifty pots. The pots were spread out on the courtyard of the school. Though rainfall was copious, the crop did not get the measure of sunlight it requires.
This caused slight delay in the crop getting mature for harvest, said C.O. Hemalatha, Principal Agriculture Officer. “Had there been proper sunlight the crop could have been harvested in 90 days”. Organic farming was the medium used by the students. The school is preparing to conduct the harvest as a festival.
The programme has not only created awareness on paddy farming among the students but has also given confidence that basmati can promoted for upland paddy cultivation. The students also realized the fact that rice is an unusual and fun plant to grow in one’s garden.