1. Success Story

Meet Award-Winning Farmer Illias whose 10-acre Farm Flourished by Reusing Animal and Plant Waste

Nikita Arya
Nikita Arya

In a small district of Malappuram, Kerala, PM Illias felt closer to nature ever since he was a child. As he reached his adulthood, his love for nature pushed him to cultivate the land of his own (almost 15 years back). And now, the same land has prospered into a 10-acre farm, in which live 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables, and many cattle and livestock! 

The journey of PM Illias might look like a story of every Indian farmer who has ever dreamt of having his/her flourishing farm. However, what makes his story different from the rest of the farmers is his approach towards turning his dream into a reality. It is his environmental approach towards farming that made him chose a waste management system (i.e., manure from cow and goats and plant waste) over new and modern fertilizers. With a biogas plant, a vermicomposting system and 5 ponds for rainwater harvesting, Illias has been rewarded with the honor of receiving the Kerala State Award for the Best Farmer. 

Walking through Illias’s Farm

Illias’s farm has a wide range of varieties of fruits like Litchi, Sappotta, Mangosteen, Papaya, Jackfruit, Noni, and Guava among others. As told by Illias to thebetterindia.com, he has dedicated 4 acres of his 10-acre land exclusively to the cultivation of fruits. 

While talking of the remaining 6 acres, he says that 2 acres are for everyday vegetables like bitter gourd, tomatoes, and ladyfinger, and the remaining land has been given to a tree museum with varieties like Teak, Cedar, White Cedar, and Hopea. 

“In 15 years, I’ve collected many varieties of saplings, all of them from the Teak Museum in Nilambur, Malappuram. These saplings have grown into tall, majestic trees and stand as a reminder of the hard work and time that has gone into the cultivation of this farm,” added Illias. 

Talking about the irrigation of the land, Illias explains, “The summers can be a tricky season, especially when you have to maintain such a vast area. That’s when I started rainwater harvesting. Ever since then neither the farm nor the people in our locality have had to face any kind of water scarcity. I’ve also kept aside one of the ponds for children to learn swimming in the summers. That’s just something that brings me joy”.

Apart from it, Sanjeev SJ, an officer from the Krishi Bhavan in the panchayat, explains how he uses biogas plant and a vermicomposting system instead of using fertilizers. 

“Every day he collects the waste from the entire locality and if it’s biowaste, he uses it in the plant or adds it to his vermicompost and as for the plastic waste, he repurposes them or sends them to the recycling centers nearby,” told Sanjeev. 

Organic Farming: The Untapped Potential 

Illias’s farm is well known in Kerala not just for its variety of fruits and vegetables but also for the waste management system that has helped him prosper a farm with a perfect organic system. His neighbors also deserve a special mention as he collects most of the plant waste from them! His farm not only helps him in earning good profits but it also sets an example for the modern-age farmers that traditional approaches could be effective in modern times too! 

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