Nurturing a forest and farm, Ilyas family does not fear scarcity during lockdown
Thenhipalam (Malappuram): When people are struggling to survive during the lockdown with shortage of essential supply, Ilyas and family are living peacefully without any concern at Aroor of Pulikkal panchayat. They have a 2 acre wide forest, ponds and farm on their 14 acre compound. Paddy, vegetable, fruits, milk, egg, fish, coffee beans and almost all required food items are ready here at all times.
Ilyas follows the concept of Vaikom Muhammed Basheer that the earth belongs to not only humans but animals and birds also. For this, he turned a coconut tree plantation behind his house into a dense forest within 30 years. He planted trees like teak, rosewood and Mahogany. The forest is home to different varieties of birds and animals.
Many types of vegetables and fruits are cultivated in the farm of Ilyas. Fruits like, mango, jackfruit, litchi, rambutan, durian, miracle, baraba, orange and vegetables including local crops, carrot, beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, drumstick, papaya are available aplenty here.
People often visit this house demanding the farm fresh crops. After serving the needs of the family and neighbours, rest of the harvest is sold in market. Resident Associations that sell organic vegetables also contact Ilyas for fresh crops. Apart from vegetables and fruits, Ilyas also rears cows, goats, chicken and duck. Milk produced in the farm is sold under the brand Thanima.
There are five ponds, two wells and two borewells on the compound. One pond is used for fish farming. Slurry and compost are used as fertilisers for crops. Ilyas is also a winner of the state government's award for best farmer in the year 1998-99 and awards of Pulikkal panchayat and Malappuram district panchayat. His wife and three children also support him in the maintenance of the farm and forest.