A. Balakrishnan

A. Balakrishnan is a custodian farmer from Manathavadi, Wayanad who has inventive lead on farming. His cultivation and conservation comprise coffee, paddy, plantain and pepper. He practices organic and traditional method of cultivation. Of two acres he possesses, one-acre is of wetland for paddy crop and rest is of upland for coffee and pepper. His focal point is pepper plantation at present.

His research on pepper has instigated in 1982 on inspiration from a series of converse in the radio on pepper. He has developed two ‘Quick Wilt’ disease resistant varieties of pepper specified as ‘Aswathi’ and ‘Suvarna’. He has developed ‘Aswathi’ from parental variety as ‘Uthirankotta’ and ‘Cheruvalli’ and ‘Suvarna’ from ‘Karimunda and ‘Cheruvalli’ variety. In 1960s, the traditional variety ‘Panniyur’ was popular in the region and was known for higher and early yield. But the varieties of pepper developed from the native varieties raised the interest among the farmers across the region. In addition to that he carries out conservation of diverse traditional varieties of pepper such as ‘Sugantha kurumulaku’, ‘Karikonta’, ‘Cheruvally’, ‘Kalluvally, ‘Uthirankotta’ and ‘Balankotta’.

He generated new varieties of turmeric and coffee. ‘916’ is a variety of turmeric and he has patented it. The variety of coffee has developed from ‘Robusta’ but not yet named. Besides he conserves and propagates diverse varieties of the fruit species as mango and jack fruit; and protects rare tree species. He conserves water through rain pit and it’s an effective method for ground water strengthening. All crops are cultivated through organic farming. ‘Leaf mannuring’ is a fertility inhabiter degradation method that will not affect any organism moreover it enhances the water drainage. Another system that he follows include planting many leguminous spp. on rice harvest to improve the soil fertility. He limits the biopesticide application to minimal so that it does not harm the predatour organisms.
He has been conserving traditional varieties of Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), ‘Makkaleppotti’ (Colocasia esculenta), foot yam (Amorphophallus paeoniifolius), taro and so on. Other crops that he conserves are banana, coffee, rice and cardamom. In banana, he cultivates the traditional varieties for marketing and multiplication of the sucker. During off season, both native and hybrid varieties of vegetables are cultivated in the paddy field, Carrot, Beetroot, Cauliflower, Ladies finger, Broccoli, Chilli, Cucurbits are a few to mention. The farming practices he acquired, prevent the pest to a greater extend and increase the soil fertility.