Tuticorin: Scientific management of available water resources through drip irrigation system, combined with fertigation techniques, is the most suitable method to boost chilli production, according to progressive farmers in Vilathikulam block in the district.
As a gesture of encouraging horticulture farmers in the district, 65 percent of subsidy was being given for providing drip irrigation facility to all the horticultural crops, including chillies, S. Joseph karunanidi, Deputy Director of Horticulture, Tuticorin, said here on Sunday.
A team of officials from the Department of Horticulture, led by Mr. Karunanidi, S. Raja Mohamed, Assistant Director, Horticulture, Vilathikulam block, and T. Perumal, Deputy Horticulture Officer, inspected a field at A. Kumarapuram in Vilathikulam block to assess the plant growth and performance of drip irrigation with fertigation.
They interacted with the farmers who provided drip irrigation under subsidized scheme of precision farming in about 50 acres as a cluster, benefiting 20 farmers.
Mr. Mohamed, after demonstrating the fertigation method, said that “while progressive farmers having area of cultivable land go only for the hybrid varieties, marginal farmers, owning one to two acres of land, are also attracted by the higher yield by cultivating hybrid vegetables for which Indian Overseas Bank, Nagalapuram, has extended loans for micro-irrigation system to 23 farmers to the tune of Rs. 9.25 lakh.”
M. Shanmugaraj, a small farmer, said that he used to grow only the conventional local varieties, especially in chillies. “Motivated by horticulture officials, I have opted for hybrid varieties, (US 341 in Chillies) for cultivation in 2.5 acres under precision farming method.”
“It is an outstanding hybrid that serves a dual purpose in green as well as dry chillies. It is productive and gives a very good yield,” Mr. Mohammed said.
“Through drip irrigation, 40 to 68 percent of water could be saved even while ensuring an increase of 14 to 98 percent in the yield. Generally, plants were not put under any stress at any stage of crop growth since the root zone alone was wetted to create a conducive climate for the growth of the crop,” Mr. Mohamed said.