Roughly eight years back, Odisha’s Shiva Shankar has traditionally been cultivating paddy. He would often relentlessly toil day and night for meagre returns.

Today, his son Hirod proved to be a beacon of success for farmers in the region as he cultivates vegetables, not on the ground but on the pond!

Hirod adopted an innovative approach to make farming profitable. He uses an integrated farming system to cultivate climbers in the sheds and practice pisciculture in farm ponds simultaneously.

In 2019, he dug up four different ponds on his 10-acre farm with the help of the watershed development and soil conservation unit of the agricultural department.

He first planted big trees, such as bananas, guavas, and coconuts, around the pond to utilise the space efficiently.

Simultaneously, the farmer ​​built a trellis system over the pond to grow climbers, which also eliminated the need for watering the vegetables.

He says that the trellis systems provide vertical cane support so that the chosen plants are kept off the ground.

This improves exposure to sunlight, air movement, and easier spraying access throughout the canopy. This system also makes planting easier to manage and harvest.

An electrician by vocation, he has also built a boat for himself to harvest the vegetables, and profits!

“We had already been growing bitter gourds on the bamboo trellis, so I got the idea to construct a trellis system over the pond,” he says.

“Initially, I planted 120 plants of bottle gourds and harvested 1,800 pieces last September. This earned me Rs 35,000 of extra income,” he adds.