Thankappan Nair reaps rich dividends through betel leaf farming
Neyyatinkara native Thankappan Nair began cultivating betel leaves to meet his household needs. But now, betel leaves have grown in abundance in his house compound and he sells eight to ten bundles of betel leaves in the market and nearby shops each week.
Thankappan Nair says that the betel leaves should be cared for like they are children. Care should be given daily from the day the sapling is planted. The plant should be watered two to three times daily. A stick having thickness of three fingers will be placed near a tree as a support for the betel plant. A rope is tied to the tree and the plant is allowed to grow on that rope.
Thankappan Nair is cultivating betel leaves on 15 trees in his house compound.
The main manure given is green eaves. If the plants are not watered properly, the leaves will acquire a yellow colour.
Thankappan Nair says that by using a mixture of crushed neem cake and mortar, the condition of leaves getting charred can be solved.
The betel leaves at his farm contain huge leaves. The 77-year-old farmer is also giving the betel leaves for puja purposes at the Mahalakshmi Temple nearby.
He says that one can get tender betel leaves by plucking them within four to five days and majority of people who chew betel leaves prefer the tender ones.