Agri Business

Humid tropics ideal for diverse variety of vegetable production, say experts

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on November 19, 2020

A webinar jointly organised by the Kerala Agricultural University and Indian Society of Vegetable Science (ISVS) has laid a road map towards achieving self-sufficiency in vegetable production in the warm humid tropics.

According to the panellists, warm humid tropics are resource-rich lands possessing adequate water supply, naturally fertile soils, plentiful sunshine and a favourable terrain to help production of diverse variety of vegetables and other crops.

The popularisation of high-yielding varieties and hybrids in combination with vegetable grafting technology has also been recommended for combating climate change. Breeding, multiplication of root stock and mass production of grafted seedlings should be prioritised by development agencies rather than supplying seed packets to the farmers, they said.

Integrated approach

However, there are certain challenges in production such as abundance of pest and diseases, soil acidity, high humidity with high temperature, shrinking land resources that needed to be addressed in an ecologically sustainable manner.

An integrated nutrition supplement with micro nutrients and balanced irrigation is recommended to realise the full potential of the varieties grown under protected structures.

The webinar also discussed major diseases causing crop loss in tomato, chilli, brinjal, okra and cassava and their management.

Bt Brinjal

The development of Bt brinjal and its significance were discussed. The webinar also recommended a re-look at the moratorium against release of Bt brinjal in India. The role of wild species should be explored as a source of resistance genes and the experts identified different wild species in okra, bitter gourd, brinjal and tomato which could be used for breeding programme against virus, bacterial wilt and nematode in the warm humid tropics.

The potential of hybrids developed by Kerala Agricultural University — seedless watermelon and cucumber, to be popularised in the humid tropics was highlighted by experts.

Published on November 19, 2020

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