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An inspiring role model in farming :Niranjan P

Agriculture is not a novel field for the engineer couples Simi and Prajeesh and their kids. The entire family is interested in farming. From the time he could walk, little Niranjan showed a passion for agriculture and helped his grandparents in their farmlands. He always demanded a farm near his residence in Kochi. Due to space constraints, his parents built a terrace farm to fulfil his wish. They grew almost all types of vegetables, spices, fruits and flowers there. In addition to this, he created his blend of bio-manure that assures the steady growth of crops.

About his habit he says,“ I like to be around all the time. To take care of them, watch them grow, treat them with manure and plucking the fruits are the things that make me happy”. He is a sixth-standard student of Chavara Darsana CMI Public School in Kottuvalli. He is the secretary of the nature club there.

His school also promotes farming. Fruits, vegetables and even paddy cultivation are done on the expansive site. “We have a beautiful garden inside the campus. We also run an eco shop where the product is sold. The income from the shop is used for further farming activities,” explains Niranjan about their school eco-club activities. They got the award for the district’s best institute to conduct vegetable farming.

He recently received one of the best child farmer’s awards on the district level. He nurtures his plants in the terrace garden every evening. His sister Gouri also helps him in doing so. Niranjan’s mother said that he was interested in farming from a young age. Her family has roots in the high range of Adimaly, where they possess a wide farm area. He loved harvesting vegetables and fruits and also spent a lot of time on her husband’s family-owned farm.

Niranjan was a member of the WhatsApp group of child farmers during the initial shutdown time where they discussed various bio manure options. He began experimenting with various combinations and came up with a new mix of neem cake, fresh cow dung, peanut cake and fish amino.

In his terrace garden, he grew vegetables like bitter gourd, ash gourd, ivy gourd, okra, chilli, tomato, spinach, corn, sweet potato, pumpkin and fruits like pomegranate, lemon, custard apple, banana, and orange. Yellow and orange marigolds that will be harvested for the Onam are the new addition to his garden. The majority of the items produced are consumed at home or distributed to neighbours and friends. When S K Shinu, an assistant agriculture official from Krishi Bhavan in Kottuvally, heard about the young child’s efforts, he went to Niranjan’s terrace garden and got impressed. He nominated Niranjan for the Best Student Farmer award. He won the panchayat-level prize and received second in the district.

Niranjan, who aspires to work in the software industry, believes even if he pursues other careers, will continue farming without any doubt. He says “No matter what, I want to do more farming . My biggest dream is to farm in a wider space just like my grandparents in our native place”.

Parenting is significant in this hectic lifestyle. It involves raising, supporting, and fostering a child’s physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development from infancy to adulthood and across the lifespan. Through this, we must establish important objectives including guaranteeing children’s overall safety, preparing kids for adulthood, and passing along cultural values. Inculcating cultural values to the next generation is something precious like what Niranjan’s parents did. Imagine a generation free of electronic gadgets. Let’s hope for a better tomorrow where our new generation will appreciate nature’s beauty, appreciate the value of our soil, and cherish the flora and fauna.

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