Panthalam: After 18 years of expatriate life in Morcco, K B Manoj returned home with his lifetime savings. Unlike the many who shove money into NRI accounts or build up real estate fortunes, Manoj chose to buy 5.5 acres of fallow land next to his house, only to be mocked at by all around.

Supported by his cousin Bharatharajan Pillai, a retired hand from SIDCO, his land on the Elanthattu puncha today has transformed into a model mixed farming destination. Plantain and coconuts grow on the upper lands while paddy sways in over 3 acres of land.

He also grows fishes in a pond on the field and cocks and ducks. Vegetables are thriving on the hedges and the rare 'Kapila' cow is taken care of in his farmhouse.

Manoj, who also won the prize for the best farmer in the Kulanada Panchayat for his abundant yield, now dreams of expanding his cultivation to other barren lands too. This young farmer who is also an active social worker confesses to the utmost peaceful existence a farmer's life offers.

He is also seeking opportunities and support from the government departments to improve the irrigation facilities on the 50 acres of barren punja fields adjoining his land so that this could also be brought under cultivation.