India: Polyhouse farming finds many takers

Siju Sivanandan, a Kollam-native who was in the Navy, is now enjoying his retirement days by doing something productive. In 100 square meters of land, Siju has set up a kitchen garden with long beans, cucumber, tomato, green chilies, ladies finger, and amaranthus. Three months into polyhouse farming — a technique where crops are grown under controlled environmental conditions — Siju has already got his first yield.

“On ships, fresh food was always a privilege. Trying my hands at farming was part of my retirement plans. It is hard to find enough land for mass cultivation. So I needed a productive method that required less space. Six months after my retirement, I came across a Youtube channel that featured polyhouse farming, and I was hooked. I spoke to the members of the Krishikarna project and thought of setting up a live kitchen garden,” shares Siju. “The output was good. Next time, I plan to grow vegetables such as red ladies finger and leafy vegetables,” he says.

Last year, Srijith A Kumar, a Thiruvananthapuram native, also set up a polyhouse on his one-acre land. He grew cucumber, beans, and spinach there and has already got the first harvest. “The harvest was good, and I have been able to sell the produce to the nearby residents. We also have mushroom, fish, and goat farming,” says Srijith.

The Krishikarna project is a joint initiative of the State Agri Horticultural Society (SAHS), the government-accredited cooperative society involved in promoting agri-horticultural practices, the city-based NGO Sustainable Foundation that promotes sustainable development and Qore3 Innovations, and a startup providing training and technical support to farmers in agricultural practices.


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