Well-groomed:Capsicums being cultivated under shade net in Kodaikanal hill.
Small and marginal farmers who stuck to traditional farming methods for a long time for cultivating vegetables, have started adopting hi-tech methods and employing modern techniques to get high yield and better returns.
Good quality, uniform size and colour are basic requirements for getting decent price for their produces like capsicum and also to tap highly potential markets in up country. With good agro climatic conditions, capsicum is becoming the right choice for many farmers in the hill station.
Shade net cultivation is one of the techniques adopted by farmers for producing high quality bell pepper and capsicum. Market for these produces are huge in Chennai and Bangalore, said farmers.
While capsicum contains disease preventing and health promoting properties like alkaloid compounds and vitamin B, bell pepper is a rich source of vitamin C and essential minerals like iron, copper, zinc, potassium, manganese, magnesium and selenium.
Capsicum is also rich in B complex group of vitamins.
“I have been raising capsicum in 750 square metre under shade net conditions. Yield is better and market price for capsicum is also not volatile,” says farmer V. Ganesan of Pannaikadu. I harvest around 150 kg in a fortnight. Procurement price in the farm itself is oscillating between Rs.35 and Rs.40 depending on the size and the quality. Major portion of procurement is sent to Bangalore only. Quality of capsicum is also good and the colour is bright under the shade net condition. “It also eliminates sun scorch problems. We can harvest capsicums for 32 to 35 weeks periodically,” he adds.
Focused interventions like protected cultivation help farmers maximize their production and also returns.
The Department of Horticulture has been offering Rs.300 per square metre for erecting shade net under National Horticulture Mission. Each beneficiary gets subsidy for setting up the shade net in 1,000 square metre. A sum of Rs.27 lakh was allotted to the district for this purpose, said Deputy Director of Horticulture (Central Schemes) S. Raja Mohamed.