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«PROTECTED CULTIVATION HERALDING SUCCESS Indian Society for Protected Cultivation Centre for Protected Cultivation Technology (CPCT) Indian ...»

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6 Outcome of Technology Increased farm productivity of participating farmers and an annual income generation of more than Rs 50,000/1,000 m2 of cultivation area.

Increased local employment opportunities in on-farm and off-farm activities, leading to reduce distress migration.

Increased livelihood options to participant families (2 options per family).

Inclusion in basic banking facility to build a capital base for farmers.

Wider and easier access to finance for setting up village based enterprises.

Better realization of price of farm products through post-harvest management, value-addition and market linkages.

Empowered and vibrant people’s organizations addressing their own developmental issues The project learning will provide quality inputs in formulation of programmes influencing the public policies addressing issues of poverty.

Self-Employment and Local Direct Marketing There has been concern in the recent years regarding the efficiency of marketing of fruits and vegetables in India. It is believed that poor efficiency in marketing channels and poor marketing infrastructure are leading not only to high and fluctuating consumer prices, but also to only a small proportion of consumer rupee reaching the farmers. There is also substantial wastage, deterioration in quality, and frequent mismatch between demand and supply spatially and over time. With growing demand and accompanying supply response, fruits and vegetables have assumed great importance.

Off-Season Market The off - season vegetable market in the entire region is a key focus area.

For example during monsoons the local production of tomato is negligible and all major market in the eastern zone depend on supplies from the southern states. The tomato prices during June-October range from Rs 15 to 20/kg and demand in towns like Ranchi and Jamshedpur touches 30-40 tonnes/day.

Whereas tomato price in peak season (November–March) comes down to Rs 1-2/kg, providing no commercial gains to farmers. The other emerging

7 Off-season produce ready for marketing

market is the mushrooming organized retail sector. The demand for quality produce at a premium price from this sector can only be catered through organised cultivation. This project has the potential of monopolizing this sector in region. The project aims to organize farmers. As project aims at supporting 100,000 farmers, it wishes to create alternate market mechanism like Rythu Bazaar.

8

Greenhouse Capsicum:

harbinger of prosperity Both Ayush Khemka and Jayant Ghosh have become the icons among other youths and have started giving consultancy to famers and other unemployed youths who are willing to adopt hi-tech farming system of vegetable crops under protected structures. Other farmers too are adopting the technology and fetching more than hitherto-grown traditional crops.

In 2006, two young educated farmers, Ayush Khemka and Jayant Ghosh, took training on Protected Cultivation of Horticultural Crops at the Centre for Protected Cultivation Technology (formerly Indo-Israel Project) at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. Immediately after getting the training with the help of National Horticulture Board, they build a naturallyventilated greenhouse of 5,800m2 size on their own land, lying 20 km away from Ranchi.

Initially, they started cultivation of Capsicum in greenhouse. Four varieties, Indra, Orobelle, Swarna and Bombay, were sown. They raised virusfree nursery of all varieties in plug trays in a greenhouse. After 35 days, virus

<

Capsicum growing in greenhouse and its fruits (inset)

9 free seedlings were transplanted in naturally-ventilated greenhouse. All the recommended CPCT’s package of practices were followed. The whole crop duration was of 10 months under greenhouse, starting from May to March, the first harvesting came three months after sowing in May which continued till last week of February.

In total, 63.0 tonnes of marketable green fruits were harvested from 5,800m2 greenhouse area. Ayush Khemka and Jayant Ghosh were quite fortunate and lucky as their entire produce was lifted by Reliance Fresh (undertaking of Reliance India Ltd). They sold the produce from the farm itself on an average price of Rs 33/kg, giving a gross income of Rs 21.70 lakh in 10 months from an area of 5,800m2 of naturally-ventilated greenhouses.

The basic reason for high gross income was opening of Reliance Fresh outlets and non-cultivation of Capsicum crop by common farmers around Ranchi. The price range of Capsicum fruits was Rs 15-60/kg. During critical period of August and September, the price of green fruits was Rs 50-60/kg, but it was below Rs 20/kg during October, November and February.

A good start never ends, experiencing a high profit from Capsicum business, Ayush and Jayant converted 8.0 acres open field under naturallyventilated condition in 2008-09 to a total of 10 acres of protected farm area.

In 2008, they grew Capsicum in 5.0 acre and were very much satisfied in term of yield and income.

There footprints were followed by other farmers and that was another start for them. A business always gives birth to a new business; they grabbed the other side of the coin and started fabricating protected structures by using good quality cladding and basic steel material. They fabricated structures for their followers who wanted to shift to protected cultivation.





With time, they have started growing cucumber and rose, and also sell seedlings of different vegetable crops to other farmers. They also adopted the technique of raising vegetable crops like tomato, chilli, brinjal etc. in raised beds equipped with drip irrigation and plastic mulching under open field conditions. This has also been successful in disseminating it among fellow farmers.

Now, both Ayush and Jayant are happy and source of inspiration to other farmers.

10 Arvind Beniwal: an icon for strawberry cultivation Ram Ashrey Arvind Beniwal has become an icon for strawberry cultivation. He is a source of learning high-tech way of producing quality strawberries.

Arvind Beniwal, a farmer who has been inspired with scientists of CIPHET, Abohar, on strawberry cultivation dared to take this as a commercial venture. Now, he is growing 30 acres of strawberry at Palla village near Delhi (on Karnal GT road) on contract farming. His whole production is taken by Mother Diary ‘SAFAL’ agency throughout the production season. His strawberry produce is high in demand in five-star hotels and Embassies of several countries at Delhi. Around 500 acres of land (Tapa, Bareta in Mansa districts; Viryamkhera in Abohar, Saharwa in Hisar) is now under strawberry.

He is a source of inspiration for hundred of progressive farmers in the NCR region. He has already aired his strawberry success stories on DD National and AIR (All India Radio) several times. Now, he is recognized as STRAWBERRY ICON among farming community. Some more area has come under cultivation near cities and towns in north-Indian condition.

Looking into the benefits and prospects of strawberry cultivation, some farmers have started growing strawberry in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

Some of them have earned a handsome profit from strawberry cultivation. For the last 8 years, farmers are successfully cultivating strawberry, earning lakhs of rupees from one acre of strawberry. More area has come under the cultivation of strawberry.

Further, scientists convinced and persuaded Arvind Beniwal to practise intercropping in his strawberry field with high-value crops. Mr Beniwal earned Rs 6 lakh/ha extra income by cultivation of Capsicum and yellowfleshed watermelons as intercrop in strawberry field. It is worth mention over here that he has not involved extra input (except seed and labour) as intercrop thrives well on residual effect of nutrients applied during strawberry crop.

Mr Beniwal adopted an integrated approach to reap maximum benefit from protected cultivation. Seed or planting material is the key to success, 11 Arvind Beniwal at his farm Strawberry growing in his farm

–  –  –

realising this fact, Arvind dares himself to grow strawberry runners. Initially, he tried to produce runners at his farm but he could not get quality runners due to bad weather and higher infestation of insect pests and diseases. Then, he shifted his runner production site to Kullu-Manali.

12 Now, he is producing quality runners for own use as well as selling to other growers. He is using polyhouses and low tunnels for runner production in order to get disease-free planting material. Looking his prospective endeavour, other farmers also started hi-tech nursery.

Since area under high-value crops is increasing very fast for supplying the planting material to farmers, nursery production in polyhouse/shade net house is gaining popularity. Looking into the success, NHB has also taken hi-tech nursery as a component of their scheme and start giving subsidy.

Runner mortality is one of the biggest problem in early planting of strawberry. With the help of scientists, recently Mr Arvind introduced one innovation in strawberry runner production. He started growing runner in biodegradable pouches under polyhouse.

By planting polybags established runners, runner mortality is reduced to 2–3%. He says that this is the big saving, as strawberry cultivation involves 25–30% cost on runners. Mr Beniwal does not stopped here, he developed his own brand of strawberry fruits, “Arvind’s Strawberry”. With this brand name, he is sending his strawberries to Kolkata, Jaipur, Udaipur, Delhi and Agra.

13 Seedless cucumber for farmers’ prosperity Sunil Sharma started cultivation of seedless cucumber and earned good fame. Now, he is busy in fabricating and repairing of greenhouses as an added advantage. Thus, Sunil is all-round entrepreneur for his area.

Sunil Sharma, a resident of Village Bamanvaas (Thanagaji), Alwar, Rajasthan, approached the Centre for Protected Cultivation Technology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, in April 2010. In 2011, he planted seedless cucumber in 1,000 m2 naturally-ventilated greenhouse. He procured 2,500 seedlings of seedless cucumber variety, Kian, in August 2011 and followed all standardized package of practices.

He follows all the Good Agricultural Practices and has excellent crop management skill. He harvested 50.0 quintal of seedless cucumbers from 8

Sunil Kumar inside his greenhouse

14 September 2011 to 12 January 2012, from 1,000 m2 area of greenhouse. He marketed the entire produce by his own vehicle to niche markets of Jaipur and Delhi @ Rs 30/kg. The second crop of cucumber (var. Hilton) was planted on 28 December 2011 again in area of 1,000 m2. He harvested 60.0 q of cucumbers in around 40 pluckings from 7 March to 15 May 2012.

Now, he has increased the area under protected cultivation to 4,000 m2 for naturally-ventilated greenhouse at his farm. Not only this, he is also utilizing the space between 2 beds by intercropping leafy vegetables. Sunil Sharma, has also planted 6.0 acres of muskmelon for off-season cultivation under plastic low tunnels in third week of January.

He has now started the work of greenhouse fabrication and renovation, repair and management, which is very unique among such farmers. Today, Sunil Sharma has acquired a completely different outlook by entering into the field of protected cultivation. His success story certainly boosts up the morale of unemployed youth who are also interested to enter into the field of protected cultivation of vegetables in various parts of the country.

15 Potato minitubes to fulfil demand of potato seed tubers The TIFAC-CORE at Thapar University, Patiala, has optimized different parameters for micropropagation of various cultivars of potato (both indigenous and exotic). Protocol has also been standardized for efficient acclimatization and field transfer of in-vitro produced plantlets.

Technology has also been developed for the production of microtubers and their subsequent management. Subsequently, protocol for production of mini-tubers using miropropagated plantlets or micro-tubers under protected cultivation has been standardized. Various factors influencing yield of mini-tubers have been studied. The produced mini-tubers are indexed for different viruses and supplied to growers. The 99.99 per cent of mini-tubers produced over a period of time ( 10 years) were found to be free of pathogens.

There is a good success of mini-tuber production using micropropagated plantlets grown under protected cultivation at TIFAC-CORE, Thapar University, Patiala. This technology is exploited to produce mini-tubers from cultivars provided by industries such as PEPSICO India Holdings Ltd and McCain Foods. Cultures provided by these companies are maintained under aseptic conditions. Mini-tubers of these cultivars are produced and supplied to these companies as per their requirement. This partnership between industry and research institution is now more than 15 years old.

TECHNOLOGICAL INTERVENTION

Optimization of Medium The medium was optimized with respect to its composition and quantity for the culture of shoots. It was established that shoots can be propagated successfully on plant growth regulator-free (PGR-free) basal Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium. Different quantities of medium were tested in 500 ml culture bottles and it was established that 30 ml of culture medium 16 A: A view of cultures in incubation room; B: plantlets grown in culture ready for transfer to field; C: microtubers of potato in cultures; D: acclimatization of plantlets in polyhouse; E: inset net tunnels used for protected cultivation; F: potato crop growing under protected cultivation in insect net tunnels used for protected cultivation;

G: minitubers being graded for packaging and dispatch.

per culture bottle was sufficient for supporting growth of shoots during subculture cycle of 21 days. Another cost intensive item in medium was distilled water. Therefore, attempts were made to replace it with some cheaper option. For this, deionized water turned out to be suitable replacement for distilled water. This is not only cost-effective but also results in better shoot growth of potato.

17 Carbohydrate Source Carbohydrates is another important medium component, contributing to the cost of production of micro-plantlets/micro-tubers. Conventionally, sucrose (AR grade) is used as a carbohydrate source which is expensive (Rs 300/kg).



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