When the State Horticulture Mission embarked on the mission to convince people in the capital to set up vegetable farms on their terrace, they never knew it will be such a big hit.
The only city in the state selected for the implementation of this initiative — ‘vegetable initiative for peri-urban cluster’ has made its way into 18,000 households already.
“The initial plan was to cover around 15,000 households within the corporation limit, but the overwhelming demand prompted the Horticulture Mission to include 18,000 families during the first phase of the programme itself,” said Melvin Jose, technical officer and co-ordinator for the programme. Almost nine thousand families have already set up vegetable farms on their terraces and started cultivating around 1 kg of vegetables every day. The programme started in August. Thiruvananthapuram was selected out of the 20 cities in the country for the first phase of the programme. This following the grand success of a state government sponsored programme introduced in the city during 2005-2007.
Horticulture mission has documented terrace farming in as many as 1000 households under this programme already and has also presented the same at various national level workshops and seminars.
As per the programme, Horticulture Mission provides 25 low-density polyethylene (LDPE) bags filled with a mixture of fertile soil and organic manure, ready for planting vegetable saplings. The mission workers give either saplings or seeds and give detailed instructions to the beneficiaries who set up the vegetable farm.
Beneficiaries are then selected from the list of names recommended by residents associations. Each bag of sapling costs Rs 80. “Initially, the plan was to charge Rs 100 for each bag. But since we are doing it on such a large scale, we decided to reduce the price”, Melvin Jose said. Horticulture mission also provides a handbook on organic farming to all beneficiaries. “The bags can be used for vegetable cultivation for at least three years,” he said.
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