Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], October 31 (ANI): Three youngsters from Thiruvananthapuram harvested more than 11,500 kilograms of tapioca in eight months.
Three passionate farmers, Vinod Venugopal, Anu Joseph, and Philip Chacko met on a Facebook community group called 'Where in Trivandrum' and decided to pursue farming in 1.5 acres of land near Mukkunnimala which belonged to Vinod's wife Reshmi.
Vinod previously had a rubber plantation on the same field but it did not yield him agricultural satisfaction.
"Rubber is like an industrial product and not purely agricultural. Hence I was looking for ideal partners who can work with me on the field with equal passion. I found Anu and Phillip on the Facebook community group and we collectively decided to take forward our farming initiative," Vinod said.
Monkey menace is a major challenge to farming in Mukkunnimala and therefore Vinod decided to plant tapioca, ginger, turmeric, different types of yams, and colocasia rather than fruits. The trio also planted long term crops like coconut, pepper, cashew, areca nut, and some vegetables like moringa.
"After eight months, we were able to harvest tapioca. We have close to 2,300 plants which contain five kg tapioca average per plant. Our selling mode is different. We sell it to street vendors, small shop owners, and directly to the customers. When direct delivery wasn't available, we sold it to the shop owners. Now we are planning to associate with farmers so they can sell their products through our customers," Vinod further said.
"We are not using any pesticides except some nutrients which the land requires. We have also planted some rare variety of chilly, commonly called "marimulaku" in Malayalam which is lantern chilly along with other vegetables," Vinod added.
Vinod's partner Anu Joseph belongs to a farming family and feels that this profession in his blood.
"As a team, our next plan is to start fruit crops. We met some people also. We don't want to lease land but if some people come with a passion for farming, we can associate with them. Definitely, we are looking for some youngsters to join us," Anu told ANI.
"Our biggest guide was the agriculture officer in Thiruvanathapuram. We consulted him in the initial stage. He advised us to plant tapioca in the initial period. He also asked us to plant various crops based on the landscape. As we face monkey menace here, the officer suggested planting tubes," Philip Chacko, another partner, told ANI.
In the Thiruvananthapuram market, one kg tapioca cost Rs 30 to 35. Vinod Venugopal and his team sells it at a discounted price to the vendors and customers at Rs 30 per kilogram. (ANI)