Monthly Archives: January 2015

National honour for Jomon, six others from state

Alappuzha :

Indo-Tibetan Border Police jawan Jomon P G of Cherthala is among 56 people approved for the conferment of Jeevan Raksha Padak series of awards, 2014. President Pranab Mukherjee approved the awards on the eve of Republic Day.

Besides Jomon, six others, including four children from the state, too, have been selected for the awards.

Of the 56 awards, 27, including that of Jomon’s, are posthumous. Jomon was killed in a helicopter crash near Gaurikund during a rescue operation in flood-hit Uttarakhand in June 2013. He has been selected for Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak.

Subin Mathew, Akhil Biju, Yadhukrishnan V S, and Rahul T L are the children who will be awarded Jeevan Raksha Padak along with K C Mathew and Shaju P P from the state.

Jeevan Raksha Padak series of awards are given to a person for meritorious act of human nature in saving the life of a person.

“Though two years has passed since the departure of our son, we are still being honoured. We are proud of our son and now we also feel great as our son won this award posthumously,” said 66-year-old Georgekutty, Jomon’s father.

Jomon was selected into the border police force in 2010 as a constable, while he was working as supervisor of a construction company in Thiruvanthapuram. The villagers constructed a memorial and a road in his name. They have also started charitable activites in his name.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Kozhikode / TNN / January 26th, 2015

FARMER’S NOTEBOOK – Diversified farming ensures sustainable income

HIGHLIGHT: Several inward sloping terraces have been constructed in the farm to conserve water. / by Special Arrangement / The Hindu
HIGHLIGHT: Several inward sloping terraces have been constructed in the farm to conserve water. / by Special Arrangement / The Hindu

The farm of a young farmer, Mr. Joji P. Daniel, in Chittarickal village, West Eleri panchayat in Kasaragod district of Kerala is like a school for enthusiastic young farmers and agricultural students since they get exposed to a range of intense and diversified farming activities.

His family owns about 9.5 acres and in four acres coconut trees (250 trees), 150 coconut seedlings, 150 nutmeg grafts, 200 banana plants and 400 tuber crops like elephant foot yam, colocasia and tapioca are grown.

Regular income

In another two acres about 800 arecanut trees are grown with cocoa and pepper as intercrops. About 450 rubber trees are planted in another three acres which ensures a regular income.

In the remaining 50 cents of land he cultivates different types of vegetables such as bitter gourd, cabbage, cauliflower, vegetable cowpea, tomato, chilli, amaranthus and little gourd.

Besides being used for household consumption, the vegetables are sold on alternate days for about four months in a year.

The farmer regularly attends farmers’ meetings at the Central Plantation and Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) Kasaragod to get acquainted with latest technologies for sustainable farming.

He promptly follows good agricultural practices like crop rotation, incorporation of leguminous plants for improving soil fertility, organic recycling of farm waste, mulching etc. In the coconut based integrated farming system, he maintains two cows and one heifer, poultry birds and also freshwater fishes like Tilapia and Carp varieties.

Fodder grass variety, Co-3 is cultivated in the interspaces of coconut gardens to reduce the cost of animal feed. Around 15 stingless bee colonies established in the farm ensures enhanced pollination of crops and nutritional security.

Common practice

“The highlight of his farm is that adequate soil and water conservation measures are adopted throughout the farm with around 300 rain pits and inward sloping terraces. Coconut husk burial is a common practice adopted in trenches made between rows of coconut palms for moisture retention,” says Dr. George V.Thomas, Director of the Institute.

Due to proper adoption of soil and water conservation measures, the coconut yield has increased from around 90 nuts to 130 nuts per tree in a year. He has constructed three farm ponds of 15 lakh litre storage capacity and a roof top water harvesting structure of 10, 000 litre capacity.

During peak summer there is no shortage of water in his farm whereas the neighbouring areas are hit by drought as prolonged dry spells are generally experienced in the district.

Waste recycled

In his farm all crop residues are recycled to highly valued vermicompost. A biogas plant is also set up for fuel and slurry for manure purpose.

“His technique of grafting nutmeg plants after attaining sufficient growth was found to be highly successful. Generally more than 50 per cent of plants raised from nutmeg seeds are male plants.

“Grafting was done on such plants, which proved to be fast growing and started yielding from 2-3 years after planting. In fifth year of planting the average production is 200-300 fruits per plant with an average yield of 2 kg mace per plant,” explains Dr.T.S. Manoj Kumar Programme Coordinator.

The farmer is not only known for his passion, devotion and dedication towards farming but also for his innovative ideas for getting maximum returns of more than 10 lakh annually from his farm.

During heavy rainfall, bud rot disease is a major problem in coconut palms in the district. During 2008-2009, disease spread was very severe.

Mr. Joji, on behalf of a coconut cluster club formed by his group took necessary action for timely intervention in about 30 hectares guided by CPCRI specialists.

Several awards

He is the recipient of several awards like Karshaka Sree, block level best coconut farmer award, best coconut farmer award by CPCRI and Regional agricultural research station, Pilicode and is also the first recipient of the Karshaka Mithra award announced by the Government of Kerala in 2014.

“It is time for the farming community to move towards safe farming by way of maximum utilization of organic inputs and minimal or zero usage of chemical inputs. But it is the responsibility of the authorities to ensure proper branding and fair price for such safe products,” he says.

For further details please contact Mr. Joji P.Daniel, Pullancheri House, Paramba Post, Parappa (Via), Kattamkavala, Kasaragod Mobile:09447880525 and Dr.T.S. Manoj Kumar Programme Coordinator, Chowki, Kudlu Post Office, Kasaragod, Kerala 671 124 email:, Mob:09400334940 Phone:04994 232993.

source: / The Hindu / Home> S&T> Science / by M.J. Prabu / January 29th, 2015

Kozhikode triumphs in Alappuzha’s own art form


It has been only three years since Vanchippattu was introduced as an event in the State School Arts Festival. The high school category Vanchippattu competition was the last event to finish in the 55th edition of the festival that drew to a close here on Wednesday.

There were 28 teams from across the State in the competition that was finally won by a team from Kozhikode. The team from Alappuzha, the homeland of Vanchippattu, could only finish third.

“Vanchippattu being an art form practised only in Alappuzha district, I have been wonderstruck by the way the rest of the State has absorbed it and managed to excel in it,” Vanchippattu scholar Kainakari Surendran, a judge at the competition, said.

Most teams were very good, Mr. Surendran said after the competition, and expressed hope that the art form would be kept alive through the arts festival.

AKKR Girls Higher Secondary School, Chelannur, Kozhikode, that bagged the first prize in the competition performed ‘Kuchelavritham’ by Ramapurathu Warrier in the Kuttanad tradition. Clad in the costume of the working-class women of Kuttanad, they delivered an energy-packed performance and had the audience singing with them by the end.

The second prize was bagged by the team from SCG Higher Secondary School, Mala, Thrissur, which performed a work in praise of Sree Padmanabhaswamy of Thiruvananthapuram in the Vechupattu tradition.

Mahatma Girls High School, Chennithala, Alappuzha, that bagged the third prize went for ‘Balaleela’ in the Aranmula tradition. Dressed in traditional set dhothies, theirs was one of the most colourful performances in the competition.

Apart from ‘Kuchelavritham,’ ‘Kiratham’ and ‘Santhanagopalam’ by Kunchan Nambiar, ‘Kirathavetta’ by C.P. Ramaswami Iyer, ‘Bali Vadham’ by Kottarakkara Raman Nair, verses from the Ramayana, and parts of ‘Karuna’ by Kumaranasan were also used by the Vanchippattu teams.

‘Ulakka,’ the traditional grinding pole, is an integral part of the Kuttanad and Vechupattu traditions, while the Krishna idol and a paddy-filled measuring barrel are seen during performances in the Aranmula tradition. The teams that followed the Kuttanad tradition were colourfully dressed in printed dhothies and bright-coloured blouses.

The team from Alappuzha, the homeland of Vanchippattu, could finish only behind Kozhikode and Thrissur in the contest.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kozhikode / by Aabha Anoop / Kozhikode – January 22nd, 2015

Asia-Pacific coconut community meet from Feb. 2

Union Minister for Agriculture, Radha Mohan Singh, will inaugurate the 51st Asia Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) session at Hotel Crowne Plaza here on February 2. The meeting will review the global coconut situation and hold deliberations on specific issues in the sector. It will evolve appropriate policy decisions with a view to making inroads into the development of trade in coconut and coconut products between the member countries, a press release issued by the Coconut Development Board said.

The APCC is an intergovernmental organisation under the aegis of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP). The organisation has 18 coconut-producing member countries.The APCC member countries account for 90 per cent of the world’s coconut production and export of coconut products, the release said.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Special Correspondent / Kochi – January 29th, 2015

Contests to be Held as Part of Coir Kerala 2015

Alappuzha :

A series of competitions will be organised for coir workers and students from February 1-5 in Alappuzha, as part of Coir Kerala exhibition.

Essay writing competitions in English and Malayalam, based on the subject ‘Mechanisation in Coir Sector – Challenges and Opportunities’, will be open to all.

Entries for the competitions should reach The Convenor, Local Publicity Committee, Coir Kerala 2015, Kerala State Coir Machinery Manufacturing Company, Near District Court, Alappuzha -1, before February 2.

A photography competition will be held on the topic ‘Kayarinte Nattile Karalin Thudippukal’.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Kerala / by Express News Service / January 29th, 2015

Bravery Award for Jomon

P G Jomo
P G Jomo

Alappuzha  :

The family members, friends and natives of Chennam Pallipuram were full of prayers and gratitude on Sunday after the Central Government declared ‘Utham Jeevan Raksha Pathaka’ to P G Jomon who sacrificed his life for saving hundreds of pilgrims and villagers stranded in Utharakhand during the floods in 2013. Georgekutty, father of Jomon, said that “we are thankful to the country and the Centre for honouring our son by bestowing the highest bravery award posthumously.

Our son helped hundreds of stranded people in the flood-hit area. We cannot bear his loss, but the honour bestowed by the country offers some solace to us”, he said. Jomon,25, and other crew members were killed when the Air Force helicopter crashednear Gaurikund in the Uttarakhand on June 25, 2013.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Kerala / by Dhinesh Kallungal / January 26th, 2015


Vechur Cow to be Micro-chipped Today


Thrissur :

The Vechur cow, a rare breed of Bos indicus cattle with an average length of 124 cm and height of 87 cm, is all set to join the elite club of the ‘micro-chipped livestock’ in the world on Monday as the authorities have made elaborate arrangements to tag the indigenous cattle species with pet microchips that uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

The Vechur Conservation Trust, a body formed to conserve domestic animal diversity in the state, will officially begin the drive of electronically tagging Vechur cows and distributing the pedigree certificate to the owners of the cows at a function to be held in Kottayam on Monday.

Dr Sosamma Iype, Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics, who is instrumental in popularising the Vechur breed in the country, said the Trust came forward with this venture of tagging the animals following widespread complaints of genetic pollution in the rare species of this local cow variety.

The unscrupulous middlemen in this sector have been promoting the sale of calves of Vechur cows that were bred with local ox varieties in the absence of enough Vechur cows because of the high demand for the indigenous cattle population among dairy farmers in the country. The introduction of micro-chipping and distribution of pedigree certificates will not only check the practice of genetic pollution,  but also serve as a tool to trace and isolate them in the event of a disease outbreak, said Dr Abraham Varkey, who assists the project.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Kerala / by Dhinesh Kallungal / January 26th, 2015

KAU technology for solid waste disposal

A new technology developed by Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) for safe and hygienic disposal of household garbage has been released for user trials.


The technology, which involves rapid conversion of degradable waste to value-added manure, was released by KAU Vice Chancellor P. Rajendran at a function held at the College of Agriculture, Vellayani, last week.

The bioconversion methods currently in operation necessitate the dumping of waste for long periods, leading to environmental pollution and human health problems. The KAU claims that the novel mechanism of bioconversion developed by scientists at the Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry is fast, efficient, non-polluting and completed within a day.

The research team led by C.R. Sudharmaidevi has fabricated a technology demonstration unit named Suchitha to be deployed for trials at various locations. The machine with 20 kg processing capacity requires only 1.5 sq m space and three units of electricity for operation.

A press note by the KAU said the product could be used as manure for various crops. The whole process was completed within a day.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by T. Nandakumar / Thiruvananthapuram – January 23rd, 2015

Cardamom auction heats up with new licence holders

Kochi :

With the Spices Board issuing cardamom e-auctioneer licence to four more players last week, competition in the cardamom auction market has been heated up with a sudden spurt in prices.

Vandanmedu Green Gold Cardamom Producer Co Ltd (VGGCP), Sugandhagiri Spices Promoters and Traders Pvt Ltd, Cardamom Growers Federation – Bodinayakanur, and Idukki District Traditional Cardamom Producer Company Ltd are the new licence holders. Currently, there are 12 licensed auctioneers including the new entrants.

The new licences will be valid till 2017.

The average price of cardamom was in the range Rs 700 – Rs 885 per kg between December 1, 2014 and January 13, 2015. However, with new players came in, the average price shot up to Rs 965 per kg on Monday and then to Rs 980 per kg on Wednesday. “We expect more competition among traders to deliver better prices ,” said A Jayathilak, chairman of the Spices Board.

Ensuring minimum supply of cardamom is critical for the existence of auction houses as they need a minimum annual turnover of Rs 75 crore to Rs 100 crore to survive.  Sunday, which had been traditionally a working day for auctioneers and traders, will be a holiday.

K K Saseendrababu, MD of VGGCP, said that the effect of new entrants, including his own company, is not limited to better price realisation. “Perhaps, the biggest change is in the attitude of auction houses towards the farmers in the region. Now the auctioneers have started going to the farm gates to collect the crop rising competition, heating up the competition,” he said.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Kochi / by Shenoy Karun, TNN / January 24th, 2015

Guptan Nair Award for Puthussery


Poet and linguist Puthussery Ramachandran has been chosen for this year’s Prof. S. Guptan Nair Award.

The award, instituted to honour teachers who have made scholarly interventions in cultural and academic life, carries a cash prize of Rs.15,000 and citation.

Prof. Ramachandran was chosen for the award by a panel chaired by Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University Vice Chancellor K. Jayakumar. Governor P. Sathasivam will present the award to Prof. Ramachandran at a function here on February 6. — Special Correspondent

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Special Correspondent / Thiruvananthapuram – January 21st, 2015