Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi
Dr. Ramanaidu Ekalavya Grameena Vikas FoundationKRISHI VIGYAN KENDRA - MEDAK
Tuniki, Kowdipally, Medak Telangana - 502 316
The area under cucurbitaceous crops is occupied the second position after tomato in Medak district. Among the cucurbits, the cultivation area of bitter gourd is predominant. Most of the farmers are growing on pandal systems and low-cost temporary pandal systems and also some of the farmers are allowed to creep on the ground. But, farmers are unaware of the ICM practices like the application of a recommended dose of fertilizers along with organic manures, bio-fertilizers, & micro nutrients and integrated pest and disease management. The major problems in bitter gourd cultivation are high fruit fly infestation, leaf minor, downy mildew, yellowing of fruits due to micronutrient deficiencies, and more number of male flowers than female flowers. So, the yield was recorded as very low. To the management of these problems, farmers are using indiscriminate usage of fertilizers, fungicides, and insecticides, which are involved in high cost of cultivation and low net income.
After analysis of those problems in bitter gourd cultivation, I have conducted training programs and group discussions to create awareness about ICM practices. After that, I have given a method demonstration on the erection of pheromone traps, sticky traps, and biofertilizers application. Initially, the demonstration is conducted at 2 to 3 farmers in each Mandal. After that, I conducted field days at the demonstration field to extend the technology among the farmers and also facilitated exposure visits to the farmers. In this way, I have planned to promote the technology. Meanwhile, I have distributed critical inputs like pheromone traps, sticky traps, bio-fertilizers, and biopesticides which are not available in the local market, and visited farmer's fields at regular intervals to implement the technology in the right manner and also to give suggestions or recommendations for existing problems.
The farmers who followed this technology; they produced 1 to 1.5 tons of extra yields than the check. Moreover, the farmers earned more net income, and the cost of cultivation was reduced by controlling pests and diseases at the initial level. The farmers also used bio fertilizers and bio fungicides along with organic & inorganic fertilizers, fungicides, and insecticides. Erected pheromone traps 10/acre to monitor the fruit fly infestation and their management. Blue and yellow sticky traps are kept to control the sucking pests. Neem oil is used as a prophylactic spray once every 10 to 15 days at intervals to control the pests. Farmers gained knowledge about the `importance and role of bio-fertilizers, bio pesticides, and pheromone traps. All these integrated crop management practices enhanced crop yield and net income and also reduced the cost of cultivation.
I have conducted field-level demonstrations, training, method demonstrations, and group discussion in 3 to 4 villages in every Mandal to spread this technology. So, this technology was spread among the farmers and 265 farmers were followed on 163 acres. Through this technology, indiscriminate usage of fertilizers and pesticides is avoided by farmers and also minimized 30 percent of inorganic fertilizers usage which is compensated by organic manures and biofertilizers. The pest and disease infestation was minimized by using bio fungicides, biopesticides, pheromone traps, and sticky traps, and also these ICM practices reduced the cost of cultivation by about Rs.11,850 per hectare and increased their net income is about Rs.82,850 per hectare.
In bitter gourd cultivation, major problems are varietal selection, downy mildew disease, sucking pests, and fruit fly infestations. These problems are plays a major role in the increasing cost of cultivation, reducing the crop yield and net Income. These are effectively managed by integrated crop management practices in bitter gourd. At present, the cultivation area is increased from 150 acres in 2016-17 to 850 acres in 2020-21. The existing farmers also increased their cultivating area of bitter gourd under the pandal system as farmers are getting a good net income from this crop compared to other vegetable crops. This crop is also cultivated by using a low-cost temporary pandal system for those who were not having a permanent pandal system. In Medak district, the cucurbateous crops occupied second position in the area after tomato.