A group of progressive farmers of Thettalapadu village in the upland mandal of Tirumalayapalem are excelling in vegetable cultivation by harnessing the potential of mulching, a low-cost horticulture technique, alongwith the water-efficient drip irrigation method.
Several farmers, mainly the cotton growers of this village, switched over to cultivation of vegetable crops such as cauliflower, cabbage, and tomato in adherence to a prudent technology-based and market-driven strategy.
Inspiration for farmers
They have adopted mulching, the technique of growing crops through specially made holes in a thin polythene sheet laid on the surface of the soil, and drip irrigation method by availing of subsidies under government schemes.
The cost-effective and water-efficient method proved viable and earned them good profits in the last season. This has inspired a few more farmers of this upland village to follow suit.
“We have adopted the mulching and drip irrigation methods which are best suited for upland areas like our village,” said B. Narasimha Rao, a progressive farmer of the village. “I had switched over to the cultivation of vegetables keeping in view the huge demand, particularly in Khammam town,” he noted.
“The growing health consciousness among people about nutritional values, especially the cancer fighting properties of vegetables like cauliflower, has further heightened the demand for vegetables. Buyers directly come to the village to purchase the vegetables in bulk quantity during ‘Karthika masam’, marriage season and Ayyappa deeksha,” said Mr Rao who had cultivated cauliflower and cabbage in five acres this season.
“We cultivate the vegetables which are in demand in the market. One cauliflower (weighing about 1 kg) is currently fetching us Rs 20 in Khammam market and mulching is paying good dividends to us,” said another vegetable grower. Mulching further needs to be popularised to enable more farmers make use of it to improve their yield and income,” he suggested.
Maintains soil moisture
Mulching technique helps maintain soil moisture, prevents weeds and enhances the quality and yield of vegetable crops, said J Marianna, Assistant Director-I, Horticulture Department, Khammam.
The department is offering 50 per cent subsidy (Rs 10,000) to each eligible beneficiary for mulching system under the National Horticulture Mission.
The polythene sheets in lower gauges are being supplied to the beneficiaries to avoid harm to the environment, he said.
Several farmers switch to vegetable crops in adherence to market-driven strategyHealth consciousness among people fuels demand for disease fighting vegetables