Success StoriesA ‘Giant' bounty from nature unearthed
Bountiful harvest:R. Raveendran with the African white yam cultivated in his yard.
Thiruvananthapuram: When R. Raveendran, a farmer from Pongummoodu in the city, began digging out the African white yam he had cultivated in his yard, he had no idea it would be an extraordinary crop.
Digging deeper and wider, he soon realised that he would need assistance for the job. It took four labourers and as many days to yank out the giant of a tuber from the soil. Weighing all of 275 kg, the huge yam soon grabbed attention, not only in his neighbourhood but all over the city.
The delighted farmer was complimented by scientists from the Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI) who themselves were taken aback by the size of the yam ( Dioscorea rotundata).The ‘giant' variety
The giant yam was exhibited on the CTCRI campus before it was cut up into small pieces and sold as planting material. Mr. Raveendran had used the “Sree Subhra” variety released by the CTCRI. The plant was raised organically and it took only 10 months to mature. Mr. Raveendran regularly consulted scientists at the Crop Production Division of the CTCRI and followed their directions. He is now hopeful of securing an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for the giant yam. A Gulf returnee, Mr. Raveendran took up farming in the yard adjacent to his house in the year 2005. He has produced big yams weighing up to 172 kg in the past. He is assisted by his wife and two children in his endeavour.
Says C.S. Ravindran Nair, Head, Crop Production Division, CTCRI, “It is an outstanding crop by an enterprising farmer. Mr. Raveendran's dedication paid off. He has improved his yield and crop with every year and won several prizes. He has also been actively promoting farming.”
Last week, head of the ruling family of erstwhile Travancore Uthradam Tirunal Marthanda Varma invited Mr. Raveendran and his family to his palace where he was honoured for his achievement.An ardent advocate of organic farming, Mr. Raveendran uses only bio-fertilizers and pesticides. http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/28/stories/2010062856760200.htm