The Government is Offering 75% Subsidy for Urban Farming
The Kerala State Horticulture Mission intends to buy and distribute Arka Vertical Garden structures throughout the state to encourage urban farming.
The urban communities of Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram was chosen to promote it in the beginning. The Arka Vertical Garden structure was created by the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) in Bengaluru. The IIHR has stated that it is willing to share the technology with the state government. Once the expertise has been transferred, the State Horticultural Mission plans to create structures locally with the help of cooperative businesses. In the first phase, the Mission plans to provide 330 units to urban households in Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram.
Urban dwellers lack space to farm, so this vertical garden structure was designed specifically to address this problem.
Families can grow vegetables in a safe and convenient manner with this structure. Buildings like these may be placed in areas with plenty of sunlight, such as a balcony or a patio. These structures can be used to grow vegetables, medicinal plants, and flower harvests.
The three main components are base frame, primary central support, and branches with pots or grow bags. In pots, soil or coco peat can be used as a growth medium. It can fit into a one-square-meter space and takes up very little room.
You can place plants that need more growing media and reach a height of over 2 feet, such as tomato, chilli, peas, and brinjal, near the structure’s base. Leafy vegetables and medicinal plants such as brahmi, pudina, peppermint, and others are grown on the top floor.
At the top of the building, a 25-liter plastic container with tiny tubes and drippers watered the plants. On average, five kilogrammes of crop can be gathered in a season (depending on the type of crop planted).
In the first year, the State Horticultural Mission will provide a 75 percent subsidy on the vertical garden structure. A unit will include 16 pots, and the consumer will receive every necessary item, such as fertilizer and seeds, when they purchase a structure.
“Several tubes in the structure were broken during transit, which is why we decided to build it locally with the help of cooperatives, including Kerala Agro Industries Corporation Limited (KAIC), Raidco, and others.. Purchasing a unit from IIHR for Rs 19,400 with transportation costing Rs 1,000 per unit will cost Rs 20,400. A customer can purchase a unit for Rs 5,000 since the state and central governments will split subsidy costs in a 40:60 ratio,” said Sindhu N Panicker, Joint Director of Agriculture (State Horticulture Mission).).
According to her, IIHR has shown a willingness to transfer the technology for Rs5800, and state cooperative institutions have shown interest in purchasing it. “KAIC and Raico are asking for Rs 22,000 for each unit.” Sindhu responded, “It’s higher, and we’re negotiating with them.”
Residents’ welfare groups have commended it and expressed a willingness to work with the State Horticultural Mission to promote it. Many urban residents are interested in farming, but lack of space prevents them from doing so. If this vertical garden design succeeds, we will build more of them,” said Gopalakrishnan B, President of Ernakulam’s Netaji Residents Association.