Authors: Pawan Singh Gurjar, Gopal Carpenter, A.K. Verma and Maneesh Mishra
Indian agriculture is the home of small and marginal farmers. In the year 2010-11, they contributed 84.9 per cent to the total number of operational holdings and 44.3 per cent to the total area of operational holdings. The all India average size of the operational holdings in India is decreasing continuously and is 1.16 ha in 2010-11. The enhancement of the income of small and marginal farmers is thus important for the agricultural growth, poverty reduction, food and livelihood security in India. To achieve this factors which can improve productivity and profitability like efficient resource management, canopy management, protected cultivation, value addition and market linkages are need to be adopted. Some of the horticultural technologies have the potential of enhancing farmers income are listed below:-
- Rejuvenation and canopy management
- Intercropping in Young and Rejuvenated Orchards
- Fruiting time manipulation
- Protected cultivation
- On farm processing and value addition
The old unproductive orchards existing in abundance in fruit growing areas of India. Broad scale uprooting and replanting of trees is a long term labour intensive and expensive strategy, while such old and senile trees can be made productive and profitable through rejuvenation technique (Pandey et al., 2013). It has been observed that orchards of mango, litchi, cashew and aonla planted at 10 m X 10 m, after attaining the age of 30-40 years and orchards of guava, citrus, ber and pomegranate, after attaining the age of 10-20 years depending upon the management practices and tree spacing become uneconomical with dense top canopy cover and barren branches (Kumar et al., 2015). The pruning and heading back is the most important operation in rejuvenation technology. In principle, a perennial tree is to be pruned in dormant phase more particularly practiced in winter season or after the monsoon season is over (Lonsdale, 1999). Time of rejuvenation pruning may vary from crop to crop depending upon the nature of growth and time of dormancy (Table 1). The imbalance in root: shoot ratio can be corrected by judicious pruning. If the exposed wounds are big, they should be smeared with the antifungal paste.
Table 1: Recommended height and time for rejuvenation of old senile orchards of some perennial fruit trees (Adapted from Shukla et al ., 2016).
|Crop||Recommended height for pruning (m)||Time of pruning||References|
|Mango||3.0-5.0||November-December||Kalloo et al. (2005)|
|Guava||1.0-1.5||May-June||Kalloo et al. (2005)|
|Litchi||2.0-2.5||August September||Kumar et al. (2008)|
|Cashew||1.0-1.5||May-June||Kalloo et al. (2005)|
|Aonla||2.0-2.5||December-January||Kalloo et al. (2005)|
|Ber||2.0-2.5||May-June||Bal et al. (2013)|
|Citrus||1.0-1.5||May-June||Kalloo et al. (2005)|
Intercropping in Young and Rejuvenated Orchards
Normally, grafted trees are spaced at 10 X 10m or 12 x 12m in the fruit orchards. The space between tree rows remains unutilized till the time tree attained full canopy spread. Intercrops of small canopy fruits such as papaya, guava and vegetables could be grown for economical utilization of land in widely spaced young orchards (Rajan, 2016). Resources conservation technologies like intercropping vegetables, flowers and medicinal plants in fruit orchards enhanced farm profitability by year round production; reduce costs, increase food and nutritional security and sustainable crop productivity. The crops like cow pea, bean, cabbage, cauliflower, chillies, okra and partial shade loving crops such as turmeric, ginger and yam etc., as intercrop in the orchard provide sustainable return from the initial stage of canopy development.
Fruiting time manipulation
Some of the fruits crops such as guava, pomegranate, lemon, mandarin etc., if left without any treatment, give several light harvests of the variable quantities and qualities from the various flowering flushes throughout the year. There are three distinct flowering season i.e. February-March (Ambe Bahar), June-July (Mrig Bahar) and October-November (Hasth Bahar) with the corresponding harvest period during rainy, winter and spring season, respectively. The higher income can be earned by regulating the crop according to availability of irrigation water, market demand and pest/disease incidence in a given locality.
In guava, the rainy season crop is eliminated by spraying fertilizer grade urea (10 per cent) twice at the interval of 10 days in cv. Allahabad safeda and at 15 per cent in cv. Sardar during bloom (April-May). This result in increase of yield of good quality fruit during winter. Hasta bahar flowering (September and October) in Acid lime produce fruits in summer season by applying two sprays of cycocel 1000 ppm at an interval of one month before initiation of flowering that is in August and September resulted in maximum yield in terms of number of fruits per tree and weight of fruits per tree and this treatment also improved the fruit quality in respect to juice %, TSS, acidity, ascorbic acid content (Mahalle et al. 2010).
Protected cultivation offers several advantages to produce vegetables and flowers of good quality and high yields, offer favourable market price to the growers thus using the land and other resources more efficiently. This becomes pertinent to small and marginal growers in India who have small land holding, for augmenting their income. Protected cultivation technology, which will helps them to produce more crops each year from their land, particularly during off-season when prices are higher. Off-season cultivation of cucurbits under low plastic tunnels is one of the most profitable technologies under northern plains of India. Walk-in tunnels are also suitable and effective to raise off-season nursery and off-season vegetable cultivation due to their low initial cost. Insect proof net houses can be used for virus-free cultivation of tomato, chilli, sweet pepper and other vegetables mainly during the rainy season. These low cost structures are also suitable for growing pesticide-free green vegetables. Low cost greenhouses can be used for high quality vegetable cultivation for long duration (6-10 months) mainly in peri-urban areas of the country to fetch commensurate price of produces. Polytrenches have proved extremely useful for growing vegetables under cold desert conditions in upper reaches of Himalayas in the country (Singh and Sirohi, 2006).
On farm processing and value addition
The use of appropriate post harvest handling, processing and value addition is the at most important for augmenting income of growers. This will also generate employment in rural areas and promote establishment of rural cottage agro industries. Presently, the farmers sell their fresh fruits and vegetables without processing and value addition. If they do on farm primary processing and value addition in the villages, it will generate more income to the rural masses.
Raw mango products: Dust storms during mango fruiting season result in dropping of 15-20% raw fruits in mango growing regions of Uttar Pradesh. The magnitude of fruit drop depends on severity of storm. These raw dropped fruits can utilize for processing into Amchur, chutney, pickle and raw mango squash (mango panna) to enhance income of rural women and landless farmers. Amchur is obtained by peeling and slicing of raw mango fruits, subsequently drying in direct sunlight or in dehydrator and then grinding them in a grinder or mixer. Amchur is finely ground, bright brownish green in colour with a warm, sour-sweet and a spicy sweet, tangy fruit flavor. Amchur is the ingredient of a variety of dishes highly demanded in India as well as in the world. The market price of Amchur varies from Rs. 400-600 per Kg. One kilogram Amchur can obtain from 5 kilogram raw mango fruits. Panna is known for its heat resistant properties, highly popular drink in north India during summer season. It can be prepared from dropped raw fruits. Four kilogram (4 bottles) of mango panna prepared from 1 kilogram raw mango.
The Minimal processing technique enables global marketing of pre-cut fruits and vegetables in pre-packaged ready to cook/use form. Apart from offering fresh fruit and vegetables like products minimal processing also results in elimination of kitchen drudgery with sufficient convenience. A number of preservative methods have been used for minimally processed fruits and vegetables such as addition of texture improvers, ant browning agents, acidulants and mild heat treatments coupled with modified atmospheric packaging. The technology is less intensive with low energy consumption and manpower requirement making it favourable for rural based industries. Minimal processing technologies for bitter gourd, okra, carrot and cauliflower have been standardized utilizing antimicrobial agents viz., sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide and citric acid (Singh and Singh, 2017).
Marketing and market linkages
For small and marginal farmers, marketing of their products is main problem apart from credit and extension (Joshi and Gulati, 2003). Fluctuations in the output price are one of the most important problems for the small farmers. There is a big gap between producer prices and consumer prices. There are different models for collective marketing by the small and marginal farmers to realise better access to input and output market, and share in the consumer rupee. These are: self-help group model, co-operative model, small producer co-operatives and contract farming. Apni Mandi in Punjab, Rytu Bazars in Andhra Pradesh, dairy co-operatives are some of the successful cases in marketing. The real challenge lies in organizing the small and marginal farmers for marketing and linking them to high value agriculture. Thus, group approach is needed for getting benefits from marketing. Small farmers can also benefit from the emerging super markets and value chains if linked effectively. Direct marketing by farmers to consumers in urban areas increases their share in consumer’s rupee. It shortens marketing channels, eliminates middleman and brings producer-seller in direct transaction with consumers. Some experiences of direct marketing in India have been very successful. The Punjab Govt. experimented with a market called ‘Apni Mandi’. In Apni Mandi, commodities are reported to be sold at rates 20-30% less than the retail markets rates and 30-50% more than prevailing wholesale rates (Murthyet al . 2007).
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2. Shukla, S.K., Pandey, G., Lal, B. and Mishra, D. (2017). Rejuvenation of fruit plants as a means of improving productivity and profitability. In: Doubling Farmers Income through Horticulture, (Eds.) Chadha et al., HSI, New Delhi.
3. Pandey, D., Pandey, A and Yadav, S. (2013). Horticultural Interventions for Increasing Productivity of aonla and bael. In: Recent Advances in Subtropical Fruit Crop Production, pp. 35-39, (Eds.) V.K. Singh and H. Ravishankar. CISH, Lucknow.
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