Can discarded plastic bottles be used in farming to conserve water and achieve better yields for good income? The answer is yes, according to 78-year-old Edakkali Kuriakose, also known as Kattoor Eyyo, from Kottayam in Kerala.
Eyyo, a traditional farmer all his life in Karukachal, has developed an ingenious water conservation technique using discarded plastic bottles. His innovative approach has demonstrated that age is no barrier to innovation.
As water scarcity continues to be a growing concern for farmers, Eyyo has found a solution after experimenting with discarded plastic bottles. He meticulously fills the bottles with water and buries them upside down in the soil next to his crops after removing the cap. Eyyo explains that one must practice a bit to cover the narrow mouth of the bottle with fingers to prevent water from leaking and press it into the soil.
“We should ensure that no air gets into the bottle while we are pressing it into the soil. This method not only reduces water wastage but also ensures that the roots of the plants receive a consistent supply of moisture, leading to healthier and more productive crops. I’ve always believed that farmers should be at the forefront of finding solutions to the challenges we face,” Eyyo said, adding that he uses one-litre plastic bottles typically used for selling drinking water.
What makes Eyyo’s approach even more remarkable is his commitment to environmental sustainability. “People dump plastic bottles everywhere, so why don’t we collect them and put them to use for conserving water in vegetable cultivation?” he told “Open Digest”.
He added that the technique helps him consistently supply water to the roots of a crop for a week. “Generally, a bottle of water is enough to provide the required quantity of water to a crop for a week. However, if the soil is loose and water-absorbent, the water will only last for two days,” he said.
Eyyo’s innovations didn’t end with plastic bottles. He recently obtained a patent for developing grow bags made from Silpaulin, a durable and weather-resistant material. These grow bags, which can last up to six years, are not only eco-friendly but also cost-effective. Eyyo believes that using such grow bags can significantly reduce the environmental impact of traditional planting methods and help farmers save money in the long run. Eyyo has been cultivating all sorts of vegetables using his innovative water conservation method, and the crops have been yielding good results fetching him good income.
As Eyyo continues to nurture his fields with his innovative water conservation technique and durable grow bags, he serves as an inspiration to both young and old farmers alike. His story is a testament to the power of perseverance, creativity, and the indomitable spirit of farmers who are willing to adapt and innovate in the face of environmental challenges. Eyyo is open to sharing his knowledge with those who want to adopt his farming techniques, and he can be contacted at 8606768650.