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From toddy tapper to farmer: Kerala man earns lakhs growing vegetables

K K Mohanan

Mohanan K K was a toddy tapper until a few years ago. He was totally clueless about what to do in his life after he quit his tapping job. However, the 65-year-old Mohanan of Ernakulam in Kerala is now much happier, as his decision to take up farming as a livelihood has positively impacted not only his mental well-being but also his financial situation.

Mohanan now earns lakhs every year cultivating different varieties of vegetables from his one-acre land which he has taken on lease at Koduvazganga, Alangad in Ernakulam.

“I was completely clueless about my future when I decided to retire from toddy tapping. I had to take care of my family and didn’t know what to do. On a trial basis, I started vegetable cultivation in a small tract of land. I dedicated myself fully into it. My hard work yielded results when I got handsome returns selling the vegetables from my first harvest. This gave me the confidence to expand my farming to one acre,” Mohanan told “Open Digest“.

Mohanan at his farm

Mohanan says that his secret to making farming a successful venture is simple: “One needs to work on the farm 365 days, taking care of the plants. If you appoint labourers for each and every work, there will be no money left for you.”

Mohanan grows all varieties of vegetables at his farm, right from salad cucumber to bitter gourd. “I basically do rotation farming to ensure that we could harvest a vegetable from my farm every month. Currently, I am cultivating salad cucumber, and I used to earn Rs. 3,000 every two days selling it in the open market,” Mohanan said, adding that he only uses natural fertilisers like cow dung and goat dung in his farm as it not only reduces the input costs but also ensures that the vegetables are free from harmful chemicals.

Mohanan confidently says that farming has given him a new way of life which is peaceful and, at the same time, financially rewarding. “If you have the will to work hard and love what you do, farming is a lucrative option,” he said, adding that though he suffered a few setbacks trying to grow vegetables like watermelon, he could overcome the loss because of doing rotational farming.

“If there is good rain, the price of salad cucumber will come down. Cultivation of pottuvellari (a type of cucumber) done just before this was also successful. I also focus on growing seasonal vegetables like tomatoes and brinjal,” he said.

To learn more about his farming, Mohanan can be contacted at 9072005651.

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