KERALA

Cool-season vegetables take root in State

Successful trials: Gopinath, a farmer at Vazhukkumpara, near Peechi, at his cabbage and cauliflower farm.

Successful trials: Gopinath, a farmer at Vazhukkumpara, near Peechi, at his cabbage and cauliflower farm.  

Mini Muringatheri

VFPCK plans commercial production from next year

Thrissur: The Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council of Keralam (VFPCK) is all set to promote large-scale growing of cool-season vegetables in the State following successful trials.

Cabbage, cauliflower, capsicum, radish, carrot and beetroot, hitherto cultivated only in the cool climes of Idukki and Wayanad districts have been successfully grown on a trial basis in the tropical areas of other districts.

Under the Participatory Technology Development Scheme, the council started cultivation of cool-season vegetables in 2007-08. Seedlings of cabbage and cauliflower were distributed to 50 farmers in districts other than Idukki and Wayanad. An incentive of Rs.1,000 each was given to the farmers.

“The response has been encouraging,” says N. Vijayan, Chief Executive Officer of VFPCK.

Following the success of experimental farming, the council expanded the area and product range in 2008-09. This time about 1.80 lakh seedlings of cabbage and cauliflower were tried out. A few farmers were given seedlings of capsicum, carrot, beetroot and radish too.

The average yield of cabbage on the trial plots was 22.5 tonnes a hectare and that of cauliflower 17.5 tonnes a hectare. The council plans to undertake commercial production of these vegetables from next year, Mr. Vijayan says.

Marketing

Marketing will be through the council’s outlets. VFPCK is distributing hot-set varieties of cool-season vegetables procured from a Bangalore-based seed company for trial cultivation in tropical areas.

“Carrot, capsicum, cabbage and cauliflower are being grown in my field for the second time,” says K. Gopinath, a farmer at Vazhukkumpara in Pananchery panchayat, near Peechi.

On an average, cabbages in Gopinath’s field weighed about 1.5 kg to 2.5 kg and cauliflower 1 kg to 1.25 kg. Cabbages grown by him had won prizes in a competition held as part of a State-level agricultural mela last year.

“Cultivation of cool-season vegetables is more remunerative than other vegetables. Besides, they need less care,” he points out.

Inter-crops

He raised them as inter-crops along with banana. Cool-season vegetables can also be raised as single crops. Challenges in cultivation include wilting at the time of transplantation and attack of diamond back moth, says Joseph John Therattil, Deputy Manager of VFPCK, Pananchery panchayat.

The council uses organic farming methods. Organic pesticides such as pseudomonas, nimbecidine and neem-oil and garlic spray are used to check pest attacks, Mr. Therattil says.

Pests can be effectively controlled with home-made tobacco and garlic liquor. The best season for raising cool-season vegetables in tropical areas is October-February. Optimum moisture supply is to be ensured during the entire growth period.

The crops take just three months. With large-scale commercial production, the council expects to contribute to the State’s goal of achieving self-sufficiency in vegetables.

Recommended for you