Working in the construction industry for over eight years, Srijith Kumar, a resident of Sasthamangalam in India, is now set to try his hand at polyhouse farming, a hi-tech method by which crops are grown under controlled environmental conditions.
“I am planning to cultivate vegetables inside the polyhouse as well as breed fishes and have a hi-tech mushroom unit,” says Srijith, who took a break from his profession during the pandemic to spend more time farming. The polyhouse is being set up under the ‘Krishikarna’ project, a joint initiative of State Agri Horticultural Development Cooperative Society Limited (SAHS), a city-based NGO Sustainable Foundation promoting sustainable development, and Qore3 Innovations, a startup engaged in providing training and technical support to farmers in agricultural practices.
Srijith is one of the many farmers in the district who have signed up for the project. “Inside the polyhouse, I am cultivating crops such as salad cucumber, tomato, long beans, lady’s finger, and green chilies,” says Srijith. The total project cost is '20 lakh and he expects to receive a subsidy of at least 25% from the government, adds Srijith. Work has already started on his land at Kattakada and the seeds of different vegetables will be sown in the coming days.
Danesh Raj, founder and chief operating officer of the Sustainable Foundation, says, “Under Krishikarna, a mini polyhouse can be set up at a minimum cost of '1 lakh. Many farmers in the Idukki district have always been exploited by vegetable merchants in the neighboring states and often do not get fair prices for their produce. We did research on the agricultural practices in Vattavada in Idukki and were successful in training farmers and cultivating broccoli which is ready for harvest. We have also tied up with Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to transport and sell the produce in other districts. Although we are yet to implement the project in Kochi, over 60 polyhouses have already been set up in different parts of the state.”
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