This former bank manager from Alappuzha is among the top 10 farmers in India
Alappuzha: A former bank manager in Pathiyoor panchayat here has been selected as one of the 10 best farmers in the country. M. Gopalakrisha Pillai, former branch manager at Punjab National Bank, also became the only recipient of the honour from Kerala.
The best farmers were selected by the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). He is the best farmer in the Farmer First project implemented by the ICAR through the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) in the district.
Gopalakrishna Pillai is farming in his one hectare land. He manages coconut plantation, dairy farm, integrated farming, fish farming, fodder grass cultivation, value added products from milk and vermicompost making. He also implemented several agricultural projects with the help of the scientists of CPCRI Dr. Anithakumari, Dr. Alka Gupta and Dr. Muraleedharan.
The projects he implemented includes cow mat to prevent mouth and foot disease, mastitis kit to prevent bovine mastitis, farming fodder grass brought from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), corn farming using hydroponics method and cream separator to produce value added products from milk.
There are 49 cows and 20 heifers of various breeds in Gopalakrishna Pillai's farm. About 350 litres of milk is produced every day. As he sells the milk directly, it fetches a good price. People come from far away places to buy the milk due to its high quality.
Apart from this, Gopalakrishna Pillai also sells 5 tonnes of compost a year. He grows tilapia and wedge-tail (karatti) fish on the farm. He is also the founder-director of Odanadu Agricultural Product Company started as part of arranging a permanent market for the farmers in Pathiyoor.
Gopalakrishna Pillai's wife Usha also supports him in farming.