This is the story of a Kerala scientist who left his job to return to his village to serve his ailing mother. After returning to the village, he decided to cultivate his native land. You will be surprised to know that they have made their field a plantation of hundreds of exotic varieties of fruits.
Dr. Hari Muralitharan, 41, of Kottarakara in Kerala’s Kollam district, has been growing fruit trees of exotic species in his farm for the last 10 years. On less than an acre of land, he has planted about 800 exotic species of fruit plants. There are also some fruits, whose name will still be unknown to many people. Muralitharan has named his farm as ‘Green Village Farm’.
They have collected and planted all these species from farmers and gardeners of different countries. All trees and plants have been grown in biological ways. Moreover, they have also prepared a new species of cherries, which have a very sweet taste, by collecting different kinds of cherries.
Regarding his journey, Muralitharan told The Better India, “I have a doctorate in microbiology and before doing farming, I was in the post of ‘Senior Scientist’ at the Murugappa Chettiar Research Center in Chennai. But due to the deteriorating health of my mother, I left my job and returned to my village to take care of them. When I returned here, I saw that our ancestral land is empty and the weeds have grown. ”
Always interested in farming, Muralitharan thought of clearing his land and growing something on it.
He decided but, the road was not so easy. He says that when the land was cleared, he did not understand what he should do on it. He observed that other farmers do general farming. But, he wanted to do something different.
He told, “One day I got my eye on the fruit chart” of my children. Seeing this, I thought of planting different fruit trees. But, I wanted to plant exotic fruits instead of local fruits, in search of which I started meeting different farmers. ”
Hundreds of exotic fruits planted on less than an acre of land
He says that he researched the fruits of different countries and began to explore these species. Especially species that he could plant in Kerala’s temperature and climate. Therefore, he also met such farmers of the state, who are cultivating foreign fruits. But, in most places, he got frustrated because, he did not get much support from the people. People were finding it very strange that why a scientist wants to quit his job and do farming? But he was determined not to back down.
Therefore, he started contacting people from other countries. Resolving many problems, he ordered local fruit plants and seeds from places like Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand, Cameroon and planted them on his land. He explains, “Many of my close friends helped me in this work. If they saw any foreign fruit anywhere, they would try to collect its seeds and send it to me. I have developed a good friendship with many big farmers living abroad and they have been very supportive of me. ”
Today there are about 800 types of exotic fruit trees in their fields. More than 500 of these have started bearing fruit, including Soncoya, Ilama, Ugu, Olosapo, Kubal, Kubal, Bignay, Araza and Yellow Jaboticaba ( Yellow Jaboticaba) etc. Yugu is a fruit like Petha, a species of fruit from West Africa. Kubal is a vine, a species of fruit from the Philippines. From Brazil, they applied yellow jaboticaba, which tastes like pineapple.
Foreign people, he says, have not only sent seeds and plants to them, but have also given a lot of information about them through Skype calls. Whatever they have learned, they have learned from these people and by experimenting themselves. In 2016, he started a Facebook group, ‘Mannum Manasum’, to share this knowledge and information with people. More than 45 thousand people are associated with him in this group. A few months back, he has also started his own YouTube channel.
New species of cherries prepared
Along with successfully planting exotic fruits, he himself has developed a new species of cherry. He says that the cherries found in Kerala are mostly sour. Therefore, they collected cherry varieties from 12 other countries, similar to these cherries, and developed their own cherry variety. He named this cherry as ‘Green Village Sweet 17 Pulm Cherry’, which is quite sweet. He has applied for a patent on his cherry species.
Muralitharan’s fruit garden is no less than a paradise not only for farmers and people interested in gardening but also for different types of birds and butterflies. He says that along with his trees and plants, he also takes care of these creatures. They get plenty of food from the garden and at the same time, Muralitharan has provided water for them. He has developed his garden in organic ways. To nourish the trees, they just make jeevamrita. However, he has done many different experiments to make this.
He does not sell any kind of fruit in his garden. They say that these birds have the first right on their fruits. After that, the people who come to see their garden are empowered, and then, their own family. However, if someone wants to buy these exotic fruit plants from them, then they provide them this plant. Only some of these limited plants, they are able to give to the people. For this garden of his own, he has received appreciation from many people. Which includes celebrities like celebrity chef Lakshmi Nair and famous singer Yeshudas. He says that when people like this get appreciation, it motivates them to move forward.
Dr. Muralitharan has been awarded the ‘Young Farmer Award’ by the Kerala Agriculture Department for his efforts. If you would like more information about Dr. Hari Muralitharan’s garden, you can email him on [email protected] or on the Facebook page.