‘Protected cultivation’ tech. to be showcased

Around 50,000 farmers expected to attend IIHR’s four-day national fair from Feb. 5

This year’s edition of the country’s biggest specialised horticulture fair being organised by the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) will be held on the institute’s Hessarghatta campus on the outskirts of Bengaluru from February 5 to 8. “The National Horticulture Fair-2020 is a national event in true sense as it will have farmer visitors from all the States in the country,” Dhananjaya M.V., principal scientist and organising secretary of the fair, told The Hindu.

“Farmers from every State in the country will have something relevant for them in the fair either in terms of crops or technologies as the IIHR has a diverse portfolio of researches and technologies to suit different agro-climatic regions of the country,” he said. The institute has released 289 varieties in 55 crops so far besides developing 145 technologies related to horticulture. The IIHR is expecting about 50,000 farmers to visit the fair. The theme of this year’s fair is ‘Horticulture: Making farming an enterprise’.

‘Protected cultivation’

As part of efforts to turn farming into an enterprise, the IIHR is trying to popularise the hi-tech concept of “protected cultivation” involving production under polyhouses and shade nets. The fair will showcase the methods as well as technologies related to cultivation of crops under polyhouses and shade nets.

Principal scientist T.S. Aghora, who is also in charge of Prioritisation, Monitoring and Evaluation Cell of the IIHR, said protected cultivation comprising polyhouses and shade nets had become a necessity now not only to increase production, but also to ensure quality of produce that have demand in niche markets.

The IIHR had standardised the production technologies for protected cultivation by developing protocols for various prominent crops to help farmers, he said.

The main intention was to reach the hi-tech farming method of protected cultivation to all classes of farmers depending upon their requirement, he said. The IIHR had taken up trial-based researches to promote cultivation of crops such as capsicum under shade net, whose establishment cost would be less than half of that of setting up polyhouses, he said.

About 50 such trials taken up by IIHR scientists in the fields of farmers in different areas had shown significant increase in yield levels when capsicum was cultivated under shade net, he said.

Organic farming

The institute has also developed standardised package of practices for organic farming with respect to 12 crops, including tomato, okra, French beans, and several leafy vegetables, he said. The organic farming practices will be on display during the fair.

In addition to this, technologies related to soil-less cultivation, floriculture, integrated horticultural farming, and various fruit crops will be on display at the fair.

The institute, which is also striving to encourage educated youth to set up horticultural enterprises, is roping in some of the successful entrepreneurs, who have obtained licences for commercialisation of its products, to showcase their work at the fair.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 11:36:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/protected-cultivation-tech-to-be-showcased/article30629473.ece

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