‘Best teacher’ now nurtures safe-to-eat vegetables

Alappuzha native harvests 50 kg of organic vegetables on alternate days from two plots of 1.5 acres each

As a teacher at Government DV HSS, Charamangalam, K.K. Prathapan had imparted values to students, nurtured their talents, and helped shape the future of many in a career spanning 27 years. The government bestowed on him a State award for best teacher in 2015-16 for his meritorious service.

After his retirement in 2017, Mr. Prathapan has taken a plunge into farming not just to kill time but also to produce safe-to-eat vegetables.

15 types of vegetables

The teacher-turned-farmer has found success in his new endeavour while practising good agricultural practices. Mr. Prathapan has transformed three acres of fallow land at Kanjikuzhy grama panchayat into a thriving organic vegetable farm. He is growing organically 15 types of vegetables including snake gourd, ridge gourd, beans, bitter gourd, tomato, chilli, ladies finger, and turmeric in two plots of 1.5 acres each.

At school too

“I have great childhood memories of farming. During my time at DV HSS, Charamangalam, I was part of several agricultural activities in the school. After retiring, I decided to get into farming full-fledged, primarily driven by the motive of producing safe vegetables,” says Mr. Prathapan, a native of Charamangalam in Kanjikuzhy.

He began growing vegetables on 1.5 acres of land provided for free to him for farming by Cheruvaranam native Babu Mon. After he harvested a good crop in the first three years, Mr. Prathapan last year bought 1.5 acres of land near his house. “On an average, my farm, spread across two plots, is producing 50 kg of vegetables on alternate days. I am making between ₹600 and ₹1,500 on alternate days. Moreover, I am contributing, albeit on a small scale, to the production of pesticide-free vegetables,” he says.

His wife P.S. Radha, a retired government employee, is part of the farming initiative. Upon hearing about Mr. Prathapan’s success story, Agriculture Minister P. Prasad had visited his farm last month.

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