Former expat makes profit from betel farming due to passion for agriculture
Pallipadu (Alappuzha): After 37 years of expat life, Naduvattam native C P Ajayakumar aka Rajan ended up cultivating betel leaves.
His experiment was successful and he also grew areca nut and lime along with betel vines. For the past 4 years, he has been making a decent income from the 400 flowerbeds of betel leaves.
Ajayakumar returned from abroad in 2016 after working as electrical supervisor in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Due to the love for agriculture, he started growing areca nut and plantain and also intercropped bitter gourd and snake gourd. Along with this, he experimented with betel leaves which was not tried by the farmers in the area.
Ajayakumar cultivates betel vines in 40 cents of land. As he had no previous experience in betel farming, it was difficult in the beginning. With this, his relatives in Thazhava who were familiar with betel cultivation helped him.
Now, Ajayakumar takes care of the betel vines all by himself. His wife Sheela and sons Sankaranarayanan and Ravishankar also support him.
The betel vines should be shortened when they reach a height of 16 feet. The vines grow to this height every three months, Ajayakumar said.
About 240 vines were destroyed in the flood havoc. However, he continued growing the plants. The leaves are sold in the local markets only. Both retail and wholesale vendors purchase betel leaves from him.