How about growing brinjal without soil, and strawberries in pots on your terrace? Given the spiralling price of vegetables and fruits and the fast disappearance of any space for kitchen gardens, it is well worth giving it a shot.
One of the thrust areas of the National Horticulture Mission is encouraging vegetable cultivation of this kind in urban and peri-urban areas, according to H.P. Singh, Deputy Director-General (Horticulture), Indian Council of Agriculture Research.
While this could mean bringing more cultivation under greenhouse technology in large-scale terms, it also means encouraging more urbanites to take to aeroponic cultivation (growing plants without using soil) and pot cultivation.
“If urban landscaping methods can meet at least 1 to 2 per cent demand, it is an achievement,” said Mr. Singh, speaking on the sidelines of a national meet of innovative farmers organised at the Indian Institute of Horticulture Research campus at Hesaraghatta here on Thursday.
He said that a brainstorming session on the issue of encouraging innovative ideas of this kind in a context where water and land were scarce and climate change was a serious concern would be held in Delhi on March 22.
Mr. Singh said that technological innovation by farmers specific to their agro-climatic situation, with scientists providing scientific validation and evaluation, should be the thrust of agricultural research in the coming years. “Scientists should evaluate and upscale innovations by farmers,” he said, and added that institutions like Krishi Vijnana Kendras should concentrate on this effort.
Over 100 farmers are participating in the two-day event, which has an exhibition related to agro-technology as well as paper presentations on new innovations in horticulture farming.
A range of technical innovations — from implements that decrease input and labour costs to improved seed and plant varieties — are on display at the campus.