Alappuzha (Kerala) [India], August 20 (ANI): For this year Onam, the Alappuzha Municipality has decided to supply organic vegetables and flowers to people at a low cost.
The organic farming initiative is named 'Ponnonathottam' loosely translated as Onam garden started on 1.5 acres of land.
"Being an urban area, people depend on other states for fruits and vegetables. The Alappuzha Municipality has leased the fallow land adjacent to the Corporation to grow flowers and vegetables as a first step towards protecting the city dwellers from toxic produce," Soumya Raj, Alappuzha Municipality chairperson told ANI.
Alappuzha Municipality, which has 52 councilors and 270 employees, is planning to replicate it in the 52 wards under it.
Soumya Raj said not only vegetables but also flowers are grown in the garden that is taken care of by employees and councilors of the Municipality.
"We all talk about the presence of chemical pesticides in vegetables, but we are forced to consume as we don't have any other option. Due to this, cases of health issues are on the rise. With the organic farming initiative, this Onam we want to send a message to people that the land here can be cultivated and also earn good produce," she said.
The chairperson also said that fruit and vegetable marketing centers will be set up in all wards.
PSM Hussain, Vice Chairman of the Municipality, said that the flowers and vegetables obtained would be made available to the people at low cost by organizing Onam bazaars.
"We have started it during Onam, but our aim is to roll out such farming initiatives across the city. The effort is to attract more youngsters and farmers to join which will also boost the tourism prospects of Alappuzha," he said.
Bindu Thomas, Development Standing Committee Chairperson, said, "A portion of the harvest received for Onam will be handed over to the old age homes and orphanages in the locality for Onam feast during Thiruvonam that falls on Saturday."
"The project was funded by a contribution of Rs 500 per employee. The Alappuzha Municipality is optimistic about the success of the pilot project. We are doing drip irrigation so that same crops can be farmed again on the same land," she added. (ANI)