Thiruvananthapuram: Several Mollywood celebrities are taking to farming in a big way, thereby giving a boost to the Kerala Government's efforts to attract the youth to agriculture.
They are not only spending money and giving directions for farming, but coming to the fields amid their busy shooting schedule and participate in its various processes.
Recently, megastar Mammootty's visit to his farm near Kumarakom drew a large crowd.
The actor said he wants to follow the zero budget natural farming method in which no chemical pesticides are used and organic manure and traditional means like earthworm compost are applied for better output.
Besides Mammootty, actor-script writer Sreenivasan, director Sathyan Anthikkad, actors Salim Kumar and Kunchakko Boban are some of the other Malayalam film celebrities who have shown passion for farming.
While Mammootty joined farmers for ploughing his 17-acre paddy field recently, Sreenivasan harvested rice from his two- and-half acre field on the outskirts of Kochi and vegetables from the garden adjacent to his house there some months ago.
Pesticide-free food, better health and satisfaction are some of the gifts which farming and greenery provide, Sathyan told reporters.
"If cinema is my first passion, farming is second or equally important area of interest. I am not a director who do many movies at a stretch. So, after every film, I take a break and go to my house at Anthikkad in Thrissur district. A walk through the sprawling fields itself is enough to fill a new energy and positivity in my mind," he said.
Sathyan said his family buys only some items like onion and potato from outside and everything else including rice, all kinds of vegetables and tuber crops are being cultivated in his two acre land.
"We get coconut for our day-to-day needs from our own yard. We dry the excess coconut and make copra from which we extract pure coconut oil for cooking purposes. Turmeric and tamarind are also grown in my land," he said.
Sathyan said he never wished to buy property in plush areas like many of his colleagues and his only interest other than films is farming.
"People`s interest may vary according to their background and experiences. I am basically a village man and have been accustomed to farming since my childhood days. So, farming is of great value for me than amassing property in plush areas or buying and renewing expensive cars," he said.
Young actor Kunchakko Boban said he wishes to set up an organic farm to cultivate pesticide-free and quality-rich vegetables and fruits.
Meenakshi, an official in the agriculture department, said the interest for farming catching up among celebrities would help attract more people to farming.
"I think, the green initiatives, taken up by matinee idols, will give a boost to agriculture sector in the state. Large number of people, especially youngsters, will be influenced by their acts. It will also give a message that farming is a serious and dignified affair," she said.