With a new innovation of low-cost biological greenhouse, Sirsa has emerged as a lodestar for farmers. While farmers are struggling to get better remuneration for their produce, the newer technologies like climatically-controlled farming have not really caught on with the average farmer due to high initial investment.
Dera Sacha Sauda’s low-cost greenhouse innovation has emerged as a new hope for farmers.Dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who also has a keen interest in agriculture, has in a press conference recently said low-cost greenhouses can be created by using very simple means.
The ‘parwal’ creeper (pointed gourd) can be used as a biological greenhouse and seasonal vegetables could be grown in the shade, he had replied to a question.
‘Parwal’ is a perennial herb that lives for years and a greenhouse ‘roof’ that yields an income as well, he added.
Charanjeet Singh Insan, an agriculture expert at the dera, took it upon himself to do what the dera chief had said. Armed with bamboo sticks, that he used as pillars to support creepers, he used a widely spaced wires as a mesh to take care of creeper’s spread.
Today, it is laden with a variety of cucurbits as, apart from ‘parwal’, there are 5-ft gourds and 9-inch bitter gourds.
Underneath this feast from the cucurbit family, there is a whole new world of blooming vegetables. Cauliflower, bitter gourd, strawberry, mushrooms, onions, tulsi and brahmi herbs grow in the shade.
Compared to lakhs of rupees spent on a conventional greenhouse, this innovation merely requires a few thousands and also utilises a lot of scrap which a farmer can find easily.
About the effectiveness of this biological greenhouse vis-a-vis fabricated greenhouses, Charanjeet said, “Both are equally effective and there is huge difference in cost. Secondly, there is no energy cost involved as natural ventilation is maintained.
Moreover, the saplings grown under the natural greenhouse show very high survival rate outside whereas saplings from the more expensive greenhouses are weak and vulnerable.”
To manage photoperiod appropriately, solar lamps will also be added to the greenhouse, Charanjeet added.
Lauding this innovative technique, Dr Beniwal, a faculty member at agricultural university, Hisar, said it would be a very cost-effective technique.
It is very important to have low-cost techniques for the Indian farmer, he said, adding that these kinds of innovations will make a difference in the agriculture reforms.