1. Agripedia

Small Scale options for Protected Cultivation

Dr. Sangeeta Soi
Dr. Sangeeta Soi

The Horticulture crops nurseries are now gradually being multiplied in substrates other than soil eliminating possibilities of spread of soil borne pathogens from infested soils, making transport of planting materials easy and its use at ease and convenience as the short shelf factor of uprooted seedlings has been taken care off.

Micro propagated plants and grafts do better in substrates other than soil preferably under semi or fully controlled climate. Biodegradable nursery bags/plugs have also been innovated and being perfected and popularized.

Farmers should demand nurseries of horticulture crops in soilless medium facilitating adoption of soilless nursery production by horticulture nurseries. Accreditations of horticulture nurseries should be made mandatory to have health true to type planting material which is must for better crop yield and return. Farmers in the business of horticulture nurseries can have FPOs/co-operatives/federation for supply or sale of plants/ nursery. Modern nurseries fetch better profit. 

Vegetable and Flower seed production 

Vegetable seed production is paying proposition. Depending upon the geographical and climatic conditions farmers in rural areas in collaboration with horticulture seed companies can have seed production of improved varieties and hybrids. Okra/bhindi, garden pea , number of flowers and medicinal plants seed production is easy for which there is a vast market. This can give more income per unit area and which can be taken up by undergoing training at KVKs, Agri. Universities and private seed companies. 

Vegetable Grafts 

As in case of fruit crops grafted seedlings in vegetable crops, where resistant root stock of same or other vegetables is used, are in demand to overcome stress (bio & abiotic) in production and reduction in use of chemical pesticides. Needless to emphasize that vegetable grafts multiplication is paying profession being practiced by certain private companies. 

Best option so far worth adopting 

Best options on the date for out scaling protected cultivation among smallholder farmers are: 

  • Plastic mulch and fertigation 

  • Plastic tunnels both low, as well as walk-in tunnels, are most suitable for the temperate climate with modifications. 

  • Net house + plastic mulch + fertigation for large number of crops like tomato, cucumber, capsicum; chrysanthemum, lilies, roses, gerbera, anthurium, foliage plants; stevia, basil and others. 

  • Climate controlled greenhouses are needed for raising plant nurseries to meet huge seedlings requirement of vegetable and flower growing clusters both under open field cultivation and cover besides ornamental/ foliage plants multiplication. 

  • Inputs and guidance for above from reputed private and public sectors are must

  • The crops successfully grown in these structures are cucumber, tomato, capsicum, roses, chrysanthemum, lilies, strawberry, leafy vegetables and herbs. 

  • Bamboo stacking in cucurbits and tomatoes + plastic mulch + fertigation 

Resource crunch- land, water and finance in rural India is well known. This has now become very visible resulting in losing interest in agriculture especially by rural youths. Horticulture is becoming popular due to comparatively better returns ad technologies. Improved technologies including low cost technologies for adopting horticulture by rural youths along with traditional agriculture practices have been emphasized in this article supported by details of technologies/ innovations. 

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