Agriculture is considered as the backbone of Indian Economy. It plays a strategic role in the process of economic development. As per the Economic Survey 2017- 2018, the agriculture sector has contributed about 16% to Indian GDP at current prices. Contribution of Agriculture sector in Indian economy is much higher than world’s average (6.4%).
Growth in agricultural sector may be well judged by the increase in the agricultural production over time. India is expected to achieve the ambitious goal of doubling farm income by 2022.
Cultivation of fresh vegetables after or before their normal season is called as off season vegetable cultivation, which means cultivation of crop outside their regular cropping calendar i.e. when the supply is low and prices are high. The concept of off season vegetable cultivation is a bit new to the growers and they don’t have complete knowledge regarding it. This is one of the modern practice which can give farmer higher profit and satisfy the requirement of consumers at anytime anywhere with more choices.
The main objective of off season vegetable cultivation is to produce and supply the vegetables to the market during their lean period.
The off season vegetable production can be obtained by different ways such as
- Availing and using different agro climatic conditions.
- Selection of improved varieties.
- Adjustment of planting time.
- Creating controlled environmental conditions by making plastic tunnels, polythene houses, permanent glass houses etc.
Off season vegetable planting have various advantages like:
- It helps in better/proper utilization of land and farm resource.
- The outcome obtained by the off season planting per unit is high.
- Nowadays consumers prefer fresh vegetables even in the off season, this demand of consumer can be satisfied by off season vegetable production.
- Sometimes it is possible to export fresh vegetables and earn foreign exchange.
- It is a source of rich protective food and it adds to the nutritional security.
- It is suitable for seed production.
It also offers many benefits to the farmers like:
- This method of production is suitable to small and marginal farmers.
- This engages the farmer throughout the year which solves the problem of unemployment.
- Farmers can learn specific techniques of vegetable production, which enhances their knowledge and interest towards it.
- It develops confidence amongst farmers which make vegetable production as their main profession.
Due to off season vegetable production:
- Government is supporting this by introducing new policies.
- Co-operative marketing societies are also involving in this development process.
- The women are able to contribute equally in marketing activities.
- Farmers also started to establish linkage with the wholesalers and retailer in local market etc.
Apart from advantages there are some disadvantages of off season vegetable production like:
- The production cost of vegetables is higher.
- It requires more money to construct the plastic houses.
- It requires expensive seeds.
- It is possible on commercial scale, only in areas where marketing is not a problem.
- It requires regular supervision.
- It requires skilled knowledge than the normal season production.
- Sometimes it is also risk due to possibility of incidence of disease and pest.
- It can become a source of pollution.
There are many others problems too in off season vegetable planting which may limit to some of the farmers for growing off season vegetables. And it is necessary to know about that also:
- Lack of continuous support of improved technologies.
- There is also unavailability of proper of proper packaging materials.
- There is no access of market information system.
- There is no crop insurance for this production.
- The production is affected by the government regulations.
- Unorganized market centers at the production area.
- There is also lack in marketing education and marketing extension system.
Even though off season vegetable production has various disadvantages and flaws then also there are many opportunities in growing off season vegetables.
- It provides more open export markets to farmers and traders than the existing opportunities to traders at local regional and global level.
- It provides opportunities for exporters and various stakeholders.
Total flow system of off season vegetable plantation:
There are various types of off season vegetable production in India
Vegetables which can be cultivated as off season are:
Cabbage Leafy vegetables
Capsicum Pointed gourds
Summer squash Carrot
Bitter gourds Chilli
Green peas Garlic
Swiss Chard onion
Source: PRE-68/68/October,2007/rev 2
Off season vegetable production is nothing but just adjustment of sowing and harvesting of crop
Example: Summer vegetables are sown about 2 months earlier than the normal season for early crop.
Practical Tips for off season vegetable farming:
- Before planning to adopt this technique by and individual he/she should have some practical knowledge regarding it.
- Cultivation timing of vegetable has to be accurate.
- The market demand of the vegetable should be kept in mind and grown accordingly in order to obtain higher profit margin.
- Farmer should ensure that the plant they are growing must have self pollination ability under plastic sheet.
- Land which is being utilized for the purpose of off season vegetable farming should be tested which will help in determining the quality of land for agricultural purpose.
This is how off season vegetable cultivation can be carried out.
Compiled by : Dr. J M Deshmukh (Assistant professor COA, Latur)
V.G .Dhulgand (Phd Scholar,V.N.M.K.V, Parbhani)
Sonali Vasudeo Kanade (M.sc Scholar COA,Latur)