30,000 kg ash gourd ready for harvest, but where are the takers
Vidyanagar (Kasaragod): When agriculture officers helped to sell Sankara Bhatt's 1400 kilogram ash gourd and Arif's 2000 kilograms, they did not see the 30,000 kilograms of ash gourd ready for harvest in the nearby farm owned by Perumbala native Sreedharan.
Sreedharan cultivated ash gourd in Madhur fields at the same time when Sankara Bhatt and Arif also started farming. His ash gourd used to reach the wholesale vegetable markets from Taliparamba and Mangaluru every year. They will be supplied to the feasts in temples, festivals and wedding functions.
But the COVID lockdown turned out to be a heavy blow for this farmer. Also the impending monsoon is threat for his crops. Sreedharan and his sons Sudhi, Sathi and Sujesh jointly started ash gourd farming on 2.5 acre plot in Madhur which is far from their house in Perumbala, three months ago.
They cultivated ash gourd using only organic fertilizers. Sreedharan is the winner of the agriculture department's award for the best vegetable farmer. He also cultivates cucumber, ridge gourd, bottle gourd, pumpkin and sweet potato. Crops are cultivated in paddy fields during summer and in dry land area during monsoon.
Agriculture minister V S Sunil Kumar had intervened to help Sankara Bhatt and Arif. The agriculture department took the ash gourd they cultivated to Alappuzha and paid them an amount. Sreedharan expects that the government will help him also just as they did for other farmers.