Poly mulching in Tomato cultivation – A successful venture by a farm woman
Tomato is an important commercial vegetable crop in India. Tomato farmers are facing problems due to the climate change which leads to outbreak of pest and diseases, drought situation, bore wells going dry, labour scarcity etc. In last 3-4 years major diseases like late blight and leaf curl have emerged as devastating problems for tomato crop. Subsequently cost of cultivation has also gone up and labour shortage has a major threat for farming community. Farmers are finding it difficult to cope up with the raised input costs and other problems faced by the farmers.
To mitigate these problems, Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) under Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR, Bangalore) at Hirehalli, Tumkur, Karnataka, initiated a demonstration of the technology - Poly mulching with drip irrigation in tomato crop under Front Line Demonstration (FLD) during the year 2013-14. The FLD was taken up in the field of progressive farm woman, Smt. Saroja of Deverayanapatna village of Tumkur taluk and was successfully demonstrated. She is having 2 acres of land and minimum experience in the field of Agriculture and Horticulture. Earlier, she used to grow only ragi and paddy crops during the monsoon. She was unable to cultivate the profit oriented crops due to the lack of technical knowhow and labour scarcity. She visited KVK, Hirehalli and discussed with scientists about cultivation of tomato. She was advised on summer tomato production technology developed by IIHR Bangalore with Hybrid Arka Samrat with poly mulching under FLD intervention during the year 2013-14.
Keeping these suggestions in view, Smt. Saroja decided to go for summer tomato cultivation in her field. She planned for one acre and used the Hybrid Arka Samrat released by IIHR Bangalore. She transplanted the tomato seedlings on raised beds with ploy mulch film laid with drip irrigation. She has followed package of practices with fertigation and plant protection recommendations as per the suggestions given by the KVK Scientists. She used to visit KVK, Hirehalli frequently for suggestions and regular visits were also made by the KVK Scientists to the FLD plot. The practice of mulching helped in moisture conservation, weed suppression and maintenance of soil structure. Mulches also improved the use efficiency of applied fertilizer and use of reflective mulches minimized the incidences of pests and viral diseases. She started harvesting tomato after 65 days after planting and got 32.50 tonnes of tomato per acre and sold them @ Rs.10 per kg. This resulted in a total income of Rs. 3.25 lakhs per acre. The total cost of cultivation for tomato was Rs.60,000 per acre. Thus, she earned a net profit of Rs. 2.65 lakh per acre (BC ratio 5.41). Farmers of surrounding villages were very impressed by the result of this technological intervention of plastic mulching with drip irrigation. Farmers from the village are of the opinion that by following these technologies, they can reduce the wastage of water and fertilizers and also increase the water use efficiency. The incidence of pests and diseases has come down. The number of seedlings required for planting one acre is also less because of the decreased seedling mortality. The fruits obtained are of better quality and color, which fetched her more prices in the market.