Seeds being distributed for free in Karkala, Hebri taluks to cover 20,000 families
In a concerted effort by elected representatives, Horticulture Department and a cooperative society, a campaign has been launched in Karkala, Udupi district, from Tuesday to promote the widespread cultivation of a local variety of “bili bende” (white okra) involving 20,000 families under the brand name ‘Kaarla Bende’. Kaarla in Tulu means Karkala.
Karkala MLA V. Sunil Kumar, who has taken the initiative, told The Hindu that the free seed distribution in his Assembly constituency covering Karkala and Hebri taluks began on June 1 and it will go on for a fortnight to cover 20,000 families.
Though white okra is cultivated in other parts of the coastal belt, the type cultivated in Karkala and its surrounding areas grows one feet in length. Hence the campaign has been launched to make it a brand of Karkala.
Its seeds have been procured from some local farmers and the Zonal Agricultural and Horticultural Research Station, Brahmavar, in Udupi district. The seeds are being distributed through the help of gram panchayat members to three category of growers. They are being given to those who will grow them within their compound walls in pots, growbags or in their kitchen garden; in about 10 to 15 cents of land; and to those who will take up its cultivation large scale on 25 cents of land and more.
Stating that the ‘bili bende’ began to yield in two months of planting, Mr. Kumar said that people will be urged to make any one dish out of it during functions and events in their houses to promote its vast use locally. Marketing link will be arranged to large growers to sell them in cities.
A written material on how to cultivate the variety and its pest management is being circulated on social media to reach to people.
The president of Parampara Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd., Karkala, which has also joined the campaign said that the white okra has high fibre content. A variety of dishes can be made from it.
Earlier, in January, the MLA had launched an initiative to promote the cultivation and marketing of a local variety of boiled rice under the brand name ‘Kaarla Kaje’ which is being marked by the same cooperative society.
The MLA said that both the brand building activities have been taken up under ‘vocal4local’ initiative.
Mr. Kumar said that the cultivation of ‘Kaarla Kaje’ will be promoted among 1,000 farmers in the current kharif season.