Kochi: Neither the August floods nor water scarcity thereafter dented the determination of a set of college students who are all set to reap a rich rice harvest, fighting all odds.
The students of Sacred Heart College, Thevera, sowed the seeds at the paddy field in Arayankavu near Poothotta, 24 kms from here, three months ago. The field was completely inundated in the floods last August and became marshy.
"The college bought the land to promote students' awareness in the field of agriculture and its techniques," said Abin Ambily, student development officer. "The students have been taking up paddy cultivation there for the last seven years. We didn't want to stay back this time, too, despite the floods."
The farming is undertaken without using synthetic fertilisers. "We largely depend on cow-dung collected from the cow farm maintained on the college premise. Students in batches-up to 110--used to take up the work on the field every weekend," he said.
The unexpected challenge was the weather turning humid much earlier than expected this time, triggering scarcity of water. “We've dug a well and used water judiciously,” Mr Ambili said.
The harvest is set for April end or May first week. "We sell various rice products made from the grains from the field on the college premises," he said. "Paddy cultivation is both an entertainment that promotes team effort and an educational experience."