1. Success Story

This Kerala Woman Earns Thousands Per Month by Growing Ornamental Plants

Sumi Shyamraj, a young women farmer from Aluva, Kerala had been reaping rich dividends from her 3-cents of land by selling ornamental plants during the Covid-19 pandemic. Sumi, 33, was determined to remain a farmer, harvesting vegetables and ornamental plants, so she leased 16 cents of land in her neighborhood. But, with a sigh of disappointment, she says, "the owner of the leased land recently sold the plot," pushing her back to three cents of land.

Shivam Dwivedi
Sumi Shyamraj (Pic Credit- From Sumi's Facebook Account)
Sumi Shyamraj (Pic Credit- From Sumi's Facebook Account)

Sumi Shyamraj, a young women farmer from Aluva, Kerala had been reaping rich dividends from her 3-cents of land by selling ornamental plants during the Covid-19 pandemic. Sumi, 33, was determined to remain a farmer, harvesting vegetables and ornamental plants, so she leased 16 cents of land in her neighborhood. But, with a sigh of disappointment, she says, "the owner of the leased land recently sold the plot," pushing her back to three cents of land.

Sumi Shyamraj's Journey

Sumi, the daughter of KK Ashokan and Saija, became interested in farming after witnessing her parents' enthusiasm for it. Her hard work and dedication in producing seedlings of ornamental and vegetable plants from a small area have spread far and wide.

Recently, actor Mammootty approached her and purchased 100 Begonias, Liang Li micro lotus, and Red Peony Lotus for his new home in Kochi's Vyttila.

Sumi, a Cherthala Thuravoor Native, had studied civil engineering and worked in the same field. But she had always wanted to pursue her passion, which led her to abandon her well-established job in the construction industry and dive into organic vegetable farming.

Sumi is the recipient of the Karshakasree Award from Edathala Krishi Bhavan in Vazhakkulam block panchayat. She is sometimes invited for giving classes to farmers too.

Sumi had 22 goats, 200 chickens, a cow, and a pet dog just before the 2018 floods. It's worth noting that all of these were raised on her three cents of land, 'Kanisherry Chira.' Sumi put up her vegetable & ornamental plants on her terrace while the livestock and cattle took up ground space.

“The vast majority of my livestock and cattle were lost in the 2018 floods that submerged Aluva. Following the floods, I decided to broaden my horizons by growing and selling ornamental plants. During the peak of the Covid pandemic, my plants spread to nearly every nook and cranny of the state. This provided me with the opportunity to supplement my income through the sale of organic vegetables” Sumi said.

Collection of Plants:

Her ornamental plant collection consists primarily of Episcia, Begonia, various Anthurium varieties, and Jewel Orchid. Sumi boasts that if it hadn't been for her husband, K S Shyamraj, who owns a tyre company, she would not have been able to collect 50 varieties of Episcia, a genus of flowering plants in the African violet family.

She is overjoyed because their three-year-old daughter, Niranjana, has developed an interest in plants as well. Her videos on farming caught the attention of Nestle India Ltd which led them to honour her for the service she is doing to spread farming and also for motivating women to earn a livelihood.

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