Kullu, Oct 6 : Authorities in Himachal Pradesh's Kullu district are popularising polyhouse cultivation among the farmers to promote off-season farming.
Experts observe that polyhouse cultivation in the lower hills of the state can bring an end to the cultivation woes of the farmers in the region where crop cultivation drops drastically during the winter season.
Farmers claim that this method of farming has increased the productivity and said that they are reaping benefits almost six times more than what they reap through conventional farming.
They also observe that growing crops in greenhouses produces better quality crops that fetch them more money.
"When we grow flowers in the green houses the quality is good when compared with the ones grown outdoors. There is an improvement in the quality and the size of the produce. We are benefiting from its cultivation," said Pooja, a woman farmer from Mohal in Kullu.
When polyhouse farming was first introduced in 2003-04, farmers were skeptical and reluctant to take to this farming technique.
Later while some farmers took it through advertisements in newspapers thers saw polyhouses in some other states.
"I got the idea of polyhouse when I visited the Bilaspur district in Chhattisgarh where I saw theses polyhouses. After that I though that the little land that I have I should utilize it fully by erecting a polyhouse and do some cultivation," said Kedar Nath, a farmer from Shamshi village in Kullu.
The farmers have been growing exotic vegetables as well as flowers in poly houses. The State Government has planned to install 20,000 more such poly houses.
"As they were earning good income through apple farming, earlier farmers had very little interest in polyhouse cultivation. In the last few years, a decline in apple production has prompted the farmers to take interest in polyhouse farming, apple and flower cultivation, and unseasonable farming. They have been earning good income through that. Our department plans to cover an area of 25000 sq ft this year. All these will be high technology polyhouses," said Y.P. Mehta, Deputy Director, Horticulture Department, Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal Pradesh earns more than Rs 2500 crores from cultivation of fruits and vegetables.
The cultivation of exotic vegetables and flowers in polyhouses will only add to the business and economy of the state.
Similar initiatives are being taken in Haryana also. The crops that would be cultivated include tomato, capsicum, cabbage and brinjal. By Prem Thakur