Ernakulam: Cherry of the Rio Grande, Jaboticaba sabara, Jaboticaba precoce and Soncoya are a few of the rare foreign and local fruit varieties growing in the orchard of Mulanthuruthy Karikkode native Ajith. Over 200 varieties of fruits cultivated in the 70-cent land close to his residence.
A teacher by profession, Ajith has been maintaining this orchard for 5 years. He hopes to convert the land into a high-yielding fruit orchard within next 5 years. He follows completely organic farming method. Biogas slurry and local organic fertilizers are used in the farm.
The land was a rubber plantation 15 years ago. Later, rubber trees were replaced with cashew trees. As it was not profitable without applying chemicals, he chopped the trees and planted fruit trees.
There are 14 varieties of jackfruit trees, 10 types of grapes, 9 types of mango trees, 7 varieties of rambutan, 5 varieties of dragon fruit and papaya each, 3 types of pineapple, 2 varieties of avocado, star fruit and apple each are growing in Ajith’s compound.
Besides, nearly 78 varieties of tuber crops, medicinal herbs and vegetables also are cultivated. Different varieties of paddy like Navara, Krishna Kamod and Rakthashali are grown in a 1.5 acre field close Ajith’s residence.
Ajith does not sell the fruits from his orchard. He gifts them to his relatives and friends. His friends from social media farming groups are helping him to get seeds of rare fruit varieties. Members of the Facebook community ‘Fruit Lovers Kerala’ also provide help to him.
Ajith opined that the fruit varieties from Malaysia and Indonesia are suitable for the climate in Kerala and they are growing well in his orchard. Ajith works as a teacher at Kalamassery ITI. His family including his parents, wife and two children also support him well.