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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Low tunnel cultivation technique boon for vegetables growers

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Patiala, January 07, 2014
First Published: 23:22 IST(7/1/2014) | Last Updated: 23:24 IST(7/1/2014)

Amid threat of the cold wave affecting vegetable production, the low tunnel technique is coming up as a saviour for the farmers as it not only protects their crop but also helps them get better prices for the produce.

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Launched in 1999 in the district as a pilot project by the Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), the low tunnel technique is catching up among the farmers.

The technique, also known as poly-house cultivation, has proved a boon for vegetable growers, especially those with small landholdings.

Besides saving their vegetables from chilling weather, it also helps them grow off-season vegetables as well.

As per available information, around 5000 hectares of area is under vegetable cultivation in Patiala, with maximum vegetable growers from Ghanaur, Sanaur and Nabha blocks. Around, 1200 hectares of vegetable cultivation is done through low tunnel technique.

One of the farmers in Ghanaur Bachitar Singh said using the technique is a profitable option as vegetable growers can grow both summer and winters vegetables at any time of the year.

"Farmers can grow summer vegetables in winters as perfect and appropriate temperature conditions of summers are available through low cultivation technique", he said.

Another farmer Harmeet Singh from village Gadayia said it helps them earn good money at the end of every season by selling off-season crops in markets not only in Punjab but across the country.

To motivate farmers, the horticulture department is giving subsidy on the purchase of ultraviolet 50-micron plastic sheets in order to increase quality and yield of the crop, which they get by using normal plastic sheet.

Low-tunnel cultivation

In low-tunnel cultivation technique, long and narrow strips of transparent plastic material (often polythene) are used to cover one or several adjacent rows of plants, especially vegetable crop. The polythene sheet having a thickness of 50 microns is generally used in this technique, which helps build the greenhouse effect and enables cultivation of vegetables under protected and controlled weather conditions.

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