Ludhiana, Nov 18 (UNI) Since vegetables have a special place in Punjab agriculture in view of the need for diversification and also to supplement income of farmers, the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has standardised technology for protected cultivation of vegetables.
According to Dr J S Kanwar, Head of the PAU Department of Vegetable Crops, thrust is being given on the cultivation of high value vegetable crops under net-house and poly-house. The University has given recommendations on the net-house cultivation of capsicum, tomato (indeterminate type) and brinjal.
According to Dr N S Malhi, Director of Extension Education the University has already submitted a research project for funding from Sir Ratan Tata Trust wherein it has been envisaged to involve Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) for developing and spreading the net-house technologies to villages under their jurisdiction in different agro-climatic regions.
Farmers can also construct small net-houses for growing pesticide-free vegetables for domestic use, Dr Mahli added.
Another vegetable scientist, Dr Daljeet Singh, who is involved in net-house technology generation programme disclosed that there are many benefits associated with net-house cultivation of vegetables.
Elaborating his point, he added that the technology helps to extend growing season, improves quality of the produce and minimizes the pesticides residues, a serious issue regarding freshly consumed vegetables.
The cost for a net-house of one kanal area is around Rs 50,000.
The produce of the net-house, being available in the off-season, fetches high price in the market due to their better quality and early availability.
Dr T S Dhillon, Associate Professor of Vegetables informed that a yield of 160-165 quintal per acre and 255 quintal per acre of capsicum and tomato respectively has been obtained from the net-house grown crops. Further, the vegetables grown in the net-house contract minimum incidence of viruses transmitted through insect vectors like white-fly, aphid etc.
The PAU is evaluating the performance of additional vegetables like cucumber, beans and bottlegourd and trying to integrate drip irrigation system in the net-house for water saving over and above other benefits of net-houses.
Dr Dhillon and Dr Singh informed that net-houses have been promoted in different districts including Sangrur, Amritsar, Ropar and Ludhiana and there are 2-3 net-houses in each district.
The Punjab State Farmers' Commission too is playing a useful role in promoting the net-house technology developed by PAU and that for popularizing net-houses among farmers, facilities of subsidies have also been introduced.
Under the existing scenario of perpetual demand for better quality vegetables and continuously shrinking land holding, protected cultivation can help farmers increase their profitability, expressed the vegetable scientists.