Technical Support from KAU is Helping Maldives Farmers Reap Rich Harvests
Technical support from Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) is helping Maldives farmers reap rich harvests.
In the Maldives, Vattaru island has almost the same climatic condition as that of Kerala. So when E.C. Manoharan, a civil engineer from Thrissur, took KAU technology and some seeds there, the effort was more or less smooth.
To carry out some civil engineering works Manoharan from Perinjanam first went to the Maldives in 2011. He went there again in 2013, to Vattaru island, to construct a boat house and a terminal.
After noticing the Kerala-like farming pattern and climate of the island, Manoharan convinced people of Vattaru that seeds and planting materials from Kerala will be more suitable for them than the seeds imported from European countries. He got in touch with scientists of the KAU and selected varieties with advice of the scientists of the KAU.
The greatest surprise came from watermelon. and the bitter gourd variety Preethi also gave highly encouraging results. He contacted T. Pradeep Kumar who developed seedless watermelon varieties and took its seeds to the island, when Manoharan heard about seedless watermelon varieties Swarna and Shonima.
These varieties, which produce fruits of 3 kg in normal Kerala conditions, gave fruits of 8 to 10 kg in Vattaru. The island being a tourist destination, the seedless watermelons were a big hit. The fruit now fetches a price of Rs. 120 a kg, whereas the average price of watermelon in Kerala is only one-tenth of it.