Kerala gives a push for tuber cultivation during COVID-19 lockdown

“I can’t wait to see whether or not I can develop koorka (Chinese potato) at house. I haven’t finished that earlier than. I’ve planted the rhizomes to lift the vines and, hopefully, will succeed,” says Chandrika Devi S, including with a chuckle that she even browsed the Internet to clear her doubts.

The 50-year-old Government worker from Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram district remembers rising up in a homestead with tubers of various varieties. “They had been a part of our every day eating regimen. But as meals habits modified, I by no means obtained round to cultivating them. The lockdown has obtained me occupied with self-sufficiency in meals and I’ve planted madhura kizhangu (candy potato), koova (arrowroot), chembu (colocasia), chena (elephant foot yam), kaachil (purple yam)…” The planting materials was offered by Santhigram, a voluntary organisation within the district, which has initiated a scheme to advertise tuber cultivation in and across the space.

The COVID-19-induced break in provide chains of meals has introduced the main focus again on tubers in Kerala. Besides the State Government, voluntary organisations, native self Government our bodies and farmers’ teams have additionally stepped in to advertise cultivation of roots and tubers, together with vegetable farming within the state.

The Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (ICAR-CTCRI) within the State capital has chalked out a tuber marketing campaign with the assist of the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK), and State Agriculture Department. The mission encourages farming of cassava (tapioca), completely different kinds of yams, candy potato, taro and Chinese potato.

Tuber in each family

Mayyil panchayat in Kannur district has launched a scheme to develop tapioca and candy potato in each family. It is led by Mayyil Rice Producer Company (MRPC), a farmer producer organisation that has been instrumental in reviving paddy cultivation within the panchayat. “Planting materials of both tapioca and sweet potato were distributed early this month. There are over 8,000 households in the Panchayat and tapioca cuttings were given away to over 6,100 of them and sweet potato vine cuttings to nearly 1,000 families,” says TK Balakrishnan, managing director, MRPC. While tapioca may be harvested in six months, it’s going to take three or 4 months to reap candy potatoes.

Tapioca cuttings being taken away for distribution in Mayyil panchayat in Kannur district
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Special arrangement

He says that that is a part of making each family within the Panchayat self-sufficient in meals manufacturing. “Ginger roots and turmeric rhizomes have already been distributed by Mayyil Krishi Bhavan. Later this month, we are distributing vegetable and paddy seeds in the panchayat. We have divided the Panchayat into several clusters, and guidance regarding cultivating vegetables and tubers will be given by the conveners of these clusters,” he provides. The firm is supported by the Agriculture Department, Panchayat officers, libraries and like-minded people.

S Suja, coordinator with Santhigram, says the organisation has been focussing on meals safety for the final three years. “During the lockdown, we were able to give vegetable seeds to 100 families. Tuber cultivation came as the next phase and the planting materials have already been distributed to 50 families,” she says. Meanwhile, the University of Kerala has introduced that it’ll revive farming on its campus at Kariavattom within the State capital, which incorporates tuber cultivation. Another initiative is by the company of Kozhikode, which has already began tapioca cultivation in 12 spots that had been mendacity fallow.

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