Parthenium hysterophorus, or more commonly known as Congress grass or Gajar Ghans in India, is a noxious weed that is every farmer’s worst nightmare.
With its ability to infest pastures and farmland extensively, an outbreak of parthenium often results in a disastrous loss of yield and has been observed to leave a drastic affect on humans and livestock.
This is because the plant produces Allelopathic chemicals that suppress crop plants along with allergens that affect humans and livestock with grave conditions like dermatitis and respiratory malfunction upon contact.
In Idukki district’s Marayur, many employees of Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) had been grappling with various allergies caused by parthenium, that were growing haphazardly across the premises of the section office.
As more people started becoming victims of the plant, the staff came up with the idea of eradicating the weed through vegetable cultivation on their premises. Uprooting of all the weeds in the area first, they made the land not only free of parthenium but fit for cultivation as well.
Despite their busy work schedule, the employees began investing all of their spare time in cultivating vegetables like potato, beans and spinach.
In fact, many of the contractors, who work with the KSEB, have also volunteered to partake in the agrarian initiatives taken up by the staff. All the expenditure that had gone in the initiative has been undertaken by employees and contractors.
Their hard work bore fruitful results on Wednesday when they were able to harvest a bumper yield of 100 kg potatoes under the first phase, reports Mathrubhumi, a local daily.
Not only did the determinant KSEB staff defeat the harmful weed, but they also managed to reap something productive out of it.