School teacher grows organic watermelons; gets higher price for fresh fruit
Periya (Kasaragod): A teacher in Chalingal Meengoth here is managing her tight schedule to find time for watermelon cultivation. Seema Ratheesh, a teacher at Kumbla Government High School, is growing watermelon in a 2-acre land in fully organic method following the path of her father Madhavan Nair, who was a farmer.
People who have tasted the watermelon in Seema’s farm will never choose the contaminated watermelon for cheaper rate. Seema is cultivating Sugar Queen variety of watermelon in open precision farming method introduced by the government. In this method, drip irrigation and precise amount of fertilizers are applied.
Seeds were sowed by the end of November and first round of harvesting was held in January 26. Revenue minister E Chandrasekharan inaugurated the first harvest. About 5 tonnes of watermelon was harvested in the first round. The fruits stay fresh for upto 15 days after harvest.
Seema started farming at the cost of Rs 5 lakh. As she follows complete organic method for which investment is higher, she sells the fruit for Rs 25 per kilogram. Many people had refused to buy watermelons for higher rate in the beginning. But after tasting it once, they all are coming in search of the fresh fruits now, Seema said.
Seema’s mother Vilasini and brother Manoj Kumar, a librarian at Kanhangad Nehru College, help her in the farm. They have appointed two workers also. Apart from watermelon, coconut, areca nut, rubber and banana also are cultivated in the 15-acre land. Seema’s husband Ratheesh hails from Vadakara. Their son Vishnu is a Plus One student.