DAINIK NATION BUREAU
Tomato is commercially important vegetable crop intensively grown in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and North Eastern States of India. Tomato is cultivated in 0.809 million ha with the total production of 19.697 million tonnes and average productivity is 24.34 Mt/ha in the country. However, in Uttarakhand it occupied an area of 8626.81 ha with the total production of 94005.13 metric tonnes while average productivity is 10.89 MT/ha. From the last one and half decades its area, production, productivity and availability have been increased significantly particularly in Himalayan States of India. Farmers raised nursery of tomato in the month of January and February and their planting is done during March-April. The tomato is mainly grown between March to October and its production start from May onwards which is the off season because during this period it is hardly grown in plains due to high temperature. Because of the off season, farmers get premium price of their tomato as compared to other vegetables grown in the Himalayan States. In hills of Uttarakhand cultivation of tomato has become lifeline of the farmers due to remunerative return. It is also true that average productivity of tomato in hills of Uttarakhand is low because of the many factors. Amongst which poor awareness about the management of pests and diseases, nutrient management and adoption of high yielding hybrids and varieties recommended for the region. The incidence of pests and diseases is increasing year after year especially from the last 5-6 years.
The diagnostic survey was conducted in various parts of tomato growing areas of tribal block Chakrata in Dehradun district under Tribal Sub Plan project (TSP) of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Govt. of India from 2015 to 2018. During survey discussion was held with tribal farmers in Chakrata block to find out their practical difficulties in obtaining maximum yield from their crops. It has been emerged out from the survey that poor availability of high yielding hybrids and varieties was one of the major constraints in production of tomato crops. Besides, most of the farmers were not aware about quality and effective chemical pesticides in the area which resulted in high incidence of pests and diseases. During base line survey, group discussion with farmers was held. The observations on varieties, hybrids, incidence of pests and diseases, judicious use of chemical pesticides, their time of application, pest monitoring, nursery raising etc were recorded during group discussion with farmers. It was found that majority of the tomato farmers having lack of knowledge about the high yielding varieties, hybrids and incidence of pests and diseases. Hence, to mobilize the farmers towards technological advancement in tomato production, trainings were imparted. During training of the farmers, sites were also selected for conducting demonstrations.
It was found that incidence of early and late blight disease and fruit borer was high in the tomato crop grown by the farmers as compared to demonstrated crop. The investigation revealed that major reason of high incidence of early and late blight disease and fruit borer was close planting done by the farmers. They maintained planting distance of 1 meter from row to row which was optimum but plant to plant distance was very close i.e. 10-15 cm. The planting was done in the month of March-April and flowering started about 45-50 days after planting. During that time the height and canopy of the plant became vigorous due to which penetration of sunlight and ventilation in the crops adversely affected. Due to very poor penetration of sunlight and ventilation, the humidity in the crops increases which provide very congenial condition for incidence of early and late blight disease and fruit borer. During this period temperature is also ideal which favours the incidence of early and late blight disease and fruit borer. It was also observed that farmers do not follow pruning of unwanted branches in their tomato crop. Thus close planting done by the farmers, conducive climatic conditions during flowering and fruiting, lack of pruning, poor adoption of management strategies for the control of early and late blight disease and fruit borer due to low awareness among the tribal farmers was one of the major factors of low productivity and quality of tomato. The incidence of late blight disease has been found more serious as compared to early blight disease and fruit borer especially during late summer and rainy season. According to an estimate, its incidence was recorded from 18 to 74 per cent on farmers field. However, in demonstrated tomato crop, incidence of late blight disease, early blight disease and fruit borer was less than 5 per cent. In large scale demonstrations on tomato conducted on farmers fields from 2015 to 2018, it was found that by maintaining proper plant to plant distance i.e. 30 cm, pruning of unwanted branches at weekly interval and application of cymoxanil + mancozeb @2 g/lt of water and pyraclostrobin + metiram @ 2 g/lt of water on need basis for management of early and late blight disease and spraying of profenophos + cypermethrin @ 2ml/lt of water for management of fruit borer showed outstanding results.
In areas where farmers applied recommended fungicides such as cymoxanil + mancozeb, pyraclostrobin + metiram @ 2 g/lt of water for management of early and late blight disease and profenophos + cypermethrin @ 2ml/lt of water for management of fruit borer, they got outstanding result. Hence, these pesticides need to be used by the farmers on large scale for effective management of early and late blight disease and fruit borer in tomato. It is observed, if farmers managed the incidence of early and late blight disease and fruit borer, the productivity and quality of tomato can be doubled or even increased three fold. Hence, in the changing agro climatic conditions, farmers have been exposed on the technological advancement taking place in the field of varietal development, pest and disease management and nutrient management etc. Farmers have also been sensitized on commercial tomato cultivation by imparting practical training, conducting demonstrations on their fields by involving them, distribution of farmers oriented literature in simple language, organizing farmers-scientist interaction at frequent interval during the season. Farmers also mobilized through print and electronic media, besides proper exposure of the extension personnel of the Developmental Departments working in the fields who are in close contact with the farmers.
The field demonstrations carried out based on the technological interventions on the tomato crop in tribal villages during 2015 to 2018 under centrally sponsored project i.e. Tribal Sub Plan (TSP). In demonstrations, Abhinav, Indum-13407, Abhirang, Rakshita Gold, Ansal hybrids of tomato demonstrated. During planting NPK @ 150 kg/ha and FYM 500 Q./ha were applied. Urea @ 120 kg/ha was also given 30 and 45 days after planting for proper vegetative growth and development. Water soluble NPK 18:18:18 and NPK 0:0:50 were applied by the farmers at weekly interval @ 5 g/ lt of water on rotation basis. Application of both the water soluble NPK was started 60 days after planting and was continued till the end of crop. The average yield was 226.01 Q/ha., whereas net income was 2,71,212/ha in farmers practice. The impact of field demonstrations revealed that yield and income was almost doubled in the demonstrated tomato crop as compared to farmers practice. The average yield was 428.80 Q/ha and net income was Rs. 5,14,560/ha in the demonstrated tomato crop.
It is clear from the field demonstration that proper adoption of various integrated pest and disease management strategies can double the production and income of the tribal farmers as reflected in the large scale demonstrations carried out on farmers field by participatory mode from 2015 to 2018. The study based on demonstrations of viable technologies among the tribal farmers who were already cultivating tomato but receiving low yield and income get convinced that if they adopt the demonstrated technologies in their tomato crop in true letter and spirit, they can double their productivity and income by minor changes in their existing pest and disease management practices which is largely accepted by the farmers.
Written by Dr. S.S. Singh, Professor and Head, Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Dhakrani, Dehradun,