Kozhikode: Kodancherry native Shaji Mathew has chosen the road not taken in agriculture. He cultivates paddy in the field and vegetables on the ridges of the field. For the past 4 years, he has been cultivating short duration paddy varieties in three crop seasons and also the vegetables suitable for that period.
This year he tried ‘Gopika’ paddy variety as the first crop, ‘Rakthasali’ as the second crop and ‘Black Rose’, ‘Black Jasmine’ and ‘Rakthasali’ in the third crop season. ‘Gopika’ was developed by Sasidharan, a farmer from Pulamanthole in Malappuram.
This variety is featured with the extra ordinary size, round shaped grains, suitability for both wet and dry land cultivation and ability to yield upto three seasons. It was purchased directly from Sasidharan. ‘Black Rose’, ‘Black Jasmine’ and ‘Rakthasali’ are paddy varieties with medicinal properties.
Shaji cultivated okra with first crop, cabbage and cauliflower with second crop and spinach in third crop season in the ridges of the paddy field. The ridge farming helps him to get extra profit. Also this is helpful to keep the ridges clean and free of weeds before harvest. Moreover, the menace of crabs and other pests can be reduced in this method.
No additional time or effort need to be spared for fertilization and pest control. Cabbage and marigold get rid of the insects. Shaji also cultivates paddy in one-acre land and plantain and tapioca in the remaining one acre. Besides, he maintains a poultry farm and four cattle including one cow and 3 buffaloes. In addition to this, he is also part of a joint farming venture of four partners in a 8-acre land taken for lease.