Vattaru island in the Maldives 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.
Manoharan from Perinjanam first went to the Maldives in 2011 to carry out some civil engineering works.
He went there again in 2013, to Vattaru island, to construct a boat house and a terminal.
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 their advice.
The bitter gourd variety Preethi gave highly encouraging results. The greatest surprise came from watermelon.
When he heard about seedless watermelon varieties Swarna and Shonima, he contacted T. Pradeep Kumar who developed them and took its seeds to the island.
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.
“Besides watermelon, I promoted the cultivation of bitter gourd, bottle gourd, brinjal, and cucumber in Vattaru. Cultivation of these varieties is taken up in 40 ha on the island. We resort to artificial pollination techniques since natural pollination agents like bees and butterflies are not common in Vattaru. Seedless watermelon is sought after in resorts of the Maldives and fetches a price of Rs. 900 for a fruit,” says Mr. Manoharan.
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Source URL: Google News