AGRICULTURE TRIBUNE Monday, May 15, 2000, Chandigarh, India
 
Export potential of processing units
By A. Manu Parmar and Sandeep Chopra

During the past three decades, India has made commendable progress in vegetable production and has become the second largest producer in the world. But increased productivity has still not attracted the attention of farmers due to the price fluctuation during different seasons. 

Commercial cultivation of wild marigold
By Shashi Bhushan
W
ILD Marigold (Tagetes Minuta) is no more a weed. This yellow-coloured flowering plant has proved its credentials with its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and larvicidal properties. The “wild” variety gives the highest yield of essential oil amongst various tagetes species. Besides, wild marigold is rich in carbonyal content which makes the quality of oil. There is a tremendous scope of its large-scale commercial cultivation in Himachal Pradesh because of conducive climatic conditions.

Management of onion, garlic diseases
by M.S. Yadav and J.S. Dhiman

ONION and garlic are important bulb crops grown almost all over India. Onion is consumed extensively as a vegetable and almost daily in Indian diets in the form of condiments and flavouring agents. Garlic is chiefly used for flavouring and seasoning of soups, pickles and sauces. It is also known to be of certain medicinal value. Onion and garlic are vulnerable to several diseases, some of which could reduce the yield considerably. Important diseases of these two crops are briefly discussed here together with their control measures.

Risks of early paddy transplanting
By Bhagwan Dass

A
T certain places in Haryana and the neighbouring areas of Punjab, fields with standing paddy crop are a common sight. This is the Gobinda variety. Farmers have grown it to grow another crop of basmati during the kharif season.

Package of practices for haldi cultivation
Turmeric (haldi) is used as a spice in the Indian and other Asian systems of cooking. It is also used in the drug and cosmetic industry. Turmeric is a tuber crop.

New varieties
PUNJAB Agricultural University, Ludhiana, has introduced the following new varieties of rice, sugarcane, maize and bajra.


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Export potential of processing units
By A. Manu Parmar and Sandeep Chopra

During the past three decades, India has made commendable progress in vegetable production and has become the second largest producer in the world. But increased productivity has still not attracted the attention of farmers due to the price fluctuation during different seasons. The decline in prices of the commodity emphasises an urgent need of diverting the surplus produce during the boom period. Processing of vegetables into durable products during surplus production and seasonal super-abundance can go a long way in reducing the post-harvest losses. Unfortunately, in India only a meagre amount of the vegetables is processed. Moreovr, India can earn much-needed foreign exchange in comparatively lesser time as compared to cereals. The processing food industry and export market of vegetables can be an instrument of diversification for generating income and employment for small and marginal farmers. The processed vegetable products can be considered under the following components —

Canned vegetables: Indians consume vegetable in fresh form. Therefore, no major thrust was given for canning the vegetables in our country. A little demand for canned vegetables is from the armed forces, hotels, restaurants and ethnic population like Punjabis and Gujratis settled in Europe and North America. Therefore, our exports mainly comprise of Indian specialities like peas, okra, bittergourd, cauliflower, spinach etc. to meet their flavour. There is a large demand for canned French beans and green shelled peas in Europe, particularly in the lean season.

Dehydrated vegetables: There is no major dehydration industry in the country. Mostly kippled onion and to some extent dehydrated garlic and onion meet the export requirements. Here again, no domestic market exists and units have to depend entirely on the export demand which is erratic. The structural weakness of the industry arises from our high production cost as well as exclusive dependence on one item. High freight cost is another contributing factor for nil development in this direction.

Frozen vegetables: Forzen vegetable such as peas, cauliflower, babycorn, carrots, French bean etc. are becoming popular in the metropolitan cities. The civilian market finds frozen vegetable much nearer to fresh vegetables.

Tomato products: Tomato is a major item as a commodity in the international market. Tomato paste and ketchup are potential items for the export market. Pepsi Foods Ltd has taken a step in this direction by processing tomato and chillies to ketchup, paste and other allied products. The Middle East and Europe are the major markets that could be tapped. Despite the expanding market, the right quality of tomatoes at reasonable prices is a major problem. Mainly tomato production suffered a lot due to the lack of suitable varieties for processing. But now the hybrids like TH2312, TH802 have come up and have got good potential in processing markets.

Miscellaneous products: These include pickles and snacks. Potato chips have proved to be a flavorsome snack. The industry is unable to produce spicy chips owing to high sugar content, reduced shelf life, low dry matter and high oil consumption of the local varieties thus pushing up the production cost. Pepsi Foods Ltd has got monopoly in the manufacture of potato chips.

Earlier exotic varieties like Russet, Burbank, Panda and Sturna were preferred for chips manufacture but now CPRI Shimla has come up with Kufri Chipsona-1, Kufri Chipsona-2, Kufri Giriraj and Kufri Anand which have got sufficient scope in the processing market. So farmers can grow these varieties to fulfil the demand of the processing industry.

Considering the climatic suitability of northern India, almost all vegetables can be grown here. Processing industries like Pepsi Foods, Nijjar Agro and Nestle helps farmers by supplying nursery plants of tomato and chillies and in turn procuring the produce from them. Besides diversification it also provides more employment opportunities for the people.
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Commercial cultivation of wild marigold
By Shashi Bhushan

WILD Marigold (Tagetes Minuta) is no more a weed. This yellow-coloured flowering plant has proved its credentials with its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and larvicidal properties. The “wild” variety gives the highest yield of essential oil amongst various tagetes species. Besides, wild marigold is rich in carbonyal content which makes the quality of oil. There is a tremendous scope of its large-scale commercial cultivation in Himachal Pradesh because of conducive climatic conditions.

This plant is a native of South America and naturalised in the North-West Himalayas between 1000 metres and 2500 metres above sea level. It is also found wild in South Africa, Australia, Nigeria, East Africa (Kenya), Brazil, France, India, etc. Mid-hills of Himachal Pradesh Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir are its main growing regions in India. Higher hills in Himachal Pradesh can be seen covered with this otherwise considered jungle and wasteland weed.

Wild marigold is basically a vegetation of temperate and sub-temperate climatic regions. It has a wide adaptability to varying soil and climatic conditions and can easily be cultivated all types of soils even under partial shade of other vegetations. The plant is germinated in almost all seasons except in extreme cold or hot weather conditions.

For commercial cultivation, the seeds are collected in October and November and sown during the following spring. However, the main crop period for economic production is found to be between February and November and July and November, depending upon the sowing time. Sporadic germination is, however, noticed round the year, subject to availability to moisture, except in low temperature conditions. Medium to fine soil tilth and soils free from weeds are ideal for getting higher yield. Generally, direct sowing practice is observed for its commercial cultivation. Raising seedlings in nursery and then their transplantation is, however, a little costlier exercise. But it certainly gives an assured yield.

Mr Anil Kumar Verma, a student, conducted research on the extraction of essential oils from rose and marigold species under the guidance of Dr B.B. Lal, Professor and Head, Department of Post-Harvest Technology, Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, some time back. Keeping in view the importance of this herb, studies have also been conducted under an Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) project at the university. These studies have revealed that wild marigold is a valuable aromatic industry plant with a number of properties. It has both qualitatively and quantitatively rich essential oil as compared to other marigold varteties in order to make the best use of raw material of marigold this tagetes species may form a new potential source of essential oils and may be of immense use to the perfumers in India and abroad, says Dr Lal. He adds that the oil produced in Himachal Pradesh is rich in ketonic compounds, while that produced in the plains has a poor olfactory value. Such oils with low ketonic value are not acceptable to the aromatic industry, he points out.

Studies have revealed that on an average 30 to 35 tonnes per hectare biomass and 60 to 75 kg of oil per hectare could be obtained when the crop is harvested at the full blooming stage. The price of oils is well over Rs 1,000 a kg. This way a net annual return of Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 can be obtained from one hectare cultivation of the crop.

It is established that the leaves carry more ketonic compounds, while flowers are rich in ocimene contents. Therefore, the entire biomass is crushed and used to obtain oil. On an average the leaves and the flowers extract about 0.6 to 0.8 per cent of oil in laboratory scale and around 0.4 per cent in commercial scale distillation.

The plant as a whole and its oil possess a number of medicinal values, besides being used in perfumery industry on a large scale. Higher concentration of ketones in the oil is the base material for Aroma Chemicals. The ethanolic extract of entire herb shows anti-virbal activity against the Ranikhet disease virus. Its roots contain bithienyal derivate which exhibits nematicidal activity, while the flowers are used as stomachic, aperient, diuretic and diaphoretic characters.

The volatile oil isolated from wild marigold exhibits tranquilising, hypotensive, bronchodilatory, spasmolytic and anti-inflammatory properties. Besides, the oil effects juvenile harmone activity on dysdorcus koenigii and exhibits mosquito larvicidal activity as the plant as such and oil as well work as strong repellent to common house fly. It is for this reason that the natives of South Africa use the plants of wild marigold by hanging these outside their huts to keep away swarms of flies.

Presently, hardly 1 per cent of the raw material is used to be extracted in Himachal Pradesh. As such only three tonnes of oil is produced in some distillaries, including the one in Kulu, in a year. The present requirement of marigold oil in India is met with imports from France, Brazil, Kenya and Australia.

Pilot scale studies have revealed that wild marigold may be domesticated as a field crop with minimum inputs. And Himachal Pradesh is an ideal destination for this venture. Setting up of oil distillation units in high density distribution pockets of the plant material in remote areas is required. State patronage and incentives are also called for to promote and popularise wild marigold cultivation with a view to diversifying agro-horticultural cropping patterns and practices for raising economic standard of the hill people.
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Management of onion, garlic diseases
by M.S. Yadav and
J.S. Dhiman

ONION and garlic are important bulb crops grown almost all over India. Onion is consumed extensively as a vegetable and almost daily in Indian diets in the form of condiments and flavouring agents. Garlic is chiefly used for flavouring and seasoning of soups, pickles and sauces. It is also known to be of certain medicinal value. Onion and garlic are vulnerable to several diseases, some of which could reduce the yield considerably. Important diseases of these two crops are briefly discussed here together with their control measures.

Damping off

It is responsible for poor germination and stand of onion seedlings in nursery beds. The disease may manifest itself either before or after germination of the seed. In pre-emergence damping off phase, the young seedlings are killed before they emerge through the soil surface. The post-emergence damping off of seedlings is characterised by the toppling over of infected seedlings. The tissue appears soft and water soaked at the point of infection making the stems constricted at the base, unable to bear the weight of the growing seedlings which, therefore, get collapsed. The most common fungi responsible for damping off of the onion seedling are soil-borne species of pythium, rhizoctonia and fusarium etc. In garlic the cloves which are sown, may rot in soil due to the attack by these soil-borne fungi.

Management

Onion seed before sowing should be treated with 3 g of Thiram or captan per kg seed. Thin planting, receiving light but frequent irrigation often gets less incidence of the disease. Soil around the seedlings should be drenched with 200 g of Captan per 100 litres of water twice, viz., on a week and fortnight after sowing.

Purple Blotch

This is most devastating disease of onion and garlic prevalent in different parts of the country. Infection by a pathogenic fungi, alternaria porri is responsible for this disease. The pathogen is seed, soil and air borne making it difficult to manage the disease.

The symptoms appear as small, purplish, sunken spots on the leaves of bulb crop of onion and garlic and inflorescence bearing stalk of the onion seed. Outermost lower leaves are the first to show the signs of disease in the field. In wet weather, the spots may get covered with brown or black sporulation of the fungus. The seed crop of onion at bolting stage is more vulnerable to the disease. The infloescences bearing stalks become weak, unable to bear the growing umbles and often bend down leading to poor seed filling. If the seed crop of onion is left unprotected, the disease may cause shortage of onion seed production.

Management

Disease free seed of tolerant varieties should be used for sowing. Seed should be treated before sowing with Thiram or Captan @ 3 g per kg seed. Crop should be sprayed thrice with 600 litres water per acre at 10 days interval starting with disease appearance. Since the onion and garlic stalks are glossy, a sticker (Triton) may be added to the spray solution at the @ 200 ml per 200 litres of water for proper sticking of the fungicide.

Stemphylium blight

Stemphylium blight (Stemphylium vesicarium) has also been considered a menace to onion and garlic cultivation in North India. The disease sometimes seriously damages the transplanted seedlings. The main symptoms appear in the middle of leaf as small, yellow to pale orange flecks or streaks which later develop into elongated spindle shaped diffused spots surrounded by characteristics pinkish margins. The spots turn grey at the centre and later become brown to dark brown with the appearance of the fungal structures. Gradually, the entire foliage gets blighted. Early infection of foliage is more damaging in term of production of shrivelled, non-viable and diseased seeds.

Quite often this disease appears synchronously with purple blotch. Therefore, control measures are the same as for both the diseases.

Downy mildew

The disease is caused by a fungus, peronospora destructor which affects onion as well as garlic. The main sources of the disease are the diseased bulbs used for propagation. The pathogen is seed, soil and air-borne. The disease spreads faster in rainy weather and dense plantation of the crops.

In local infections, caused by a wind-borne conidia, oval to cylindrical spots of paler than green colour are formed on leaves. In humid weather the fungus develops a white to purplish downy growth on these spots. Usually the older leaves are attacked first and the infection gradually spreads to the sheath. The infected weak stalks may break and the severely affected crop look blighted. In systemic infection, plants remain stunted, become distorted and pale green often with impaired seed formation.

Management

Bulbs used for propagation should be disease-free. Seed should be treated before sowing with Thiram or Captan @ 3g/kg seed. The crop can be protected by spraying thrice with 600 g of Indofil M-45 and 200 ml of Malathion 50 EC in 200 litres of water per acre at 10 days interval, starting with the disease appearance. Onion and garlic stalks are glossy, so a sticker (Triton) may be added to the spray solution @ 200 ml/200 litres of water for proper sticking of fungicide.
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Risks of early paddy transplanting
By Bhagwan Dass

AT certain places in Haryana and the neighbouring areas of Punjab, fields with standing paddy crop are a common sight. This is the Gobinda variety. Farmers have grown it to grow another crop of basmati during the kharif season.

The normal planting season begins from June 10. If the practice in the past continues many growers would start transplanting commonly grown varieties like Pusa-44, PR-114, PR-116, PR-106 and PR-108. But it is a rare scene at this time. Thanks to the role played by the Punjab Agricultural University and extension services, farmers are sufficiently educated about the dangers of early sowing.

Gobinda and PR-115 varieties are a substitute for PR-103 variety for late plantation. Farmers have used them in the two-paddy crops system so as to increase returns.,

Paddy growers have learnt from their experiences in the past that early planted crop results in decreased yields. It is the cause of a high degree of sterility also.

A former ICAR Deputy Director-General, Dr EA Siddiq, who is national professor of ICAR’s Directorate of Rice Research, said farmers should stick to the recommended planting time schedule. It will be ideal to transplant paddy in Punjab from June 10 to 25 for optimum yields. This would ward off diseases.

He said Punjab farmers should not get tempted, for early planting, from the availability of free power for tubewells. Nor they should be allured by the abundance of migrant labourers at a comparatively low wage. The practice of early transplantation in May led to productivity decline. The growers face difficulties in marketing the harvest as the FCI and state procurement agencies do not come forward to buy produce arriving in the mandis. The transplanted crop of May matures early and is harvested in September.

Dr Siddiq observes that the early planted crop encourages the attack of sheath blight. The monsoon normally continues up to August-end in Punjab and Haryana. Early transplanted paddy is at the flowering stage at this time. It falls victim to several diseases. The early transplanted crop has a higher percentage of broken rice and less grains per unit weight.

He says experience had shown that gains from timely transplanted crop for outweighed the savings of early transplantation.

Dr Siddiq points out that farmers opting for Gobinda and basmati crops of rice, followed by wheat, were not likely to get much higher returns compared to the two crop rice-wheat system dominant in the North. This is because the new practice delayed wheat sowing and it was invariably accompanied by low yields.

He has suggested that growers rather should take cash crops like summer moong and fodder between the harvesting of wheat and the transplanting of paddy. This would enrich the soil and also give them additional returns. Simultaneously it would not disturb the normal rice-wheat rotation.

Dr Siddiq has called upon the growers to plant nurseries now. It was the most opportune time. The age of seedlings should be between 30 and 40 days at the time of transplantation for obtaining the best results. Nothing, he said, could replace the impact which timely sowing had on production. The early transplanted crop can result in sterility beef as high as 30 per cent.

The next step forward in rice production is the introduction of hybrids. Yet timely transplantation can boost yield by 5 to 10 per cent, he adds.
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Package of practices for haldi cultivation

Turmeric (haldi) is used as a spice in the Indian and other Asian systems of cooking. It is also used in the drug and cosmetic industry. Turmeric is a tuber crop.

Timing of sowing: From third week of April to second week of May.

Land preparation: Prepare fine seed bed as for potato

Seed rate: Five to six quintals of fresh and healthy rhizomes.

Seed treatment: Dip the rhizomes in Emison 30 gm/100 litres of water for two minutes to prevent soft rot.

Fertilisers per acre: DAP two bags before sowing, potash 50 kg before sowing, urea one and a half bags 50 days after sowing and urea one and a half bags 80 days after sowing.

Method of sowing: Sow with potato planter or ridges 2 feet apart. Seed-to-seed distance is 9 inches. Keep soil moist for 40-50 days for 100 per cent sprouting and germination. Ridges can be made by hand also.

Weed control: Spray 500 ml Gramxone in 100 litre of water per acre 10 days after sowing. Repeat after 30 days. One weeding and earthing up when the crop is of 60 days.

Harvesting: Maturity of termeric is indicated by complete yellowing and drying up of plants. The crop is left in the field up to second week of March to ensure that the compounds that give colour and fragrance develop fully. Yield of 50-60 quintals is obtained per acre. Rhizomes are dug by hand and dried in shade to remove soil and roots.

Processing: Processing is done by boiling the rhizomes for 45 minutes followed by sun drying and polishing the sun dried produce in rotary polishing drums.
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New varieties

PUNJAB Agricultural University, Ludhiana, has introduced the following new varieties of rice, sugarcane, maize and bajra.

Rice:

PR-115 (SVAC) — It is a short statured stiff-strawed variety with dark green erect leaves. Its average plant height is 100 cm. It has long erect flag leaf which provides protection against birds damage. Its, grains are long slender, with good cooking quality. It matures in about 125 days after seeding. Its average yield is 2500 kg of paddy per acre.

PR 116 (SVAC) — It is a semi dwarf stiff-strawed lodging tolerant variety. It has light green erect leaves. It grows on an average 108 cm tall. It matures in 144 days after seeding. It possesses long slender grains with very good cooking quality. It is resistant to most races of bacterial blight pathogen prevalent in Punjab. Its average yield is 2800 kg of paddy per acre.

Sugarcane:

Co J-85 (SVAC) — It is a medium tall, shy tillering variety with thick canes green in colour. It is a good germinator but requires about 10 per cent higher seed rate by weight, as compared to that of other varieties, for planting. Due to its heavy cane and slightly open plant type, it is more prone to lodging. Hence, proper earthing up and binding of canes at an appropriate time is required to obtain higher yields. It is an average ratooner. The average cane yield of plant crop, obtained in adaptive trials was 343 quintals per acre, the highest being 432 quintals per acre in these trials. It is tolerant to low temperature stress and most of the prevalent isolated to red rot diseases too, to which Co J-64 is highly susceptible. Its juice contains 16 to 17 per cent sucrose in the month of November and 18 to 18.5 per cent in December.

Co S-8436 (SVAC) — It is a short-statured variety with sturdy, thick canes and is tolerant to lodging. It has greenish yellow cane. It is a good germinator and gives an average stalk population. The average and the highest cane yield of the plant crop in the adaptive trials was 333 and 500 quintals per acre, respectively. It possesses broad spectrum and high level of tolerance to red rot diseases. Its juice has 17 to 18 per cent sucrose in January. It performs better under high fertility soils with frequent irrigation.

Maize:

Bio-9637 — It is a medium maturing hybrid developed by a private company, Bioseed. It has tall (200 cm) plant. The leaves are broad and medium long. Tassel is open and of medium size. Ears are medium long and thick. Grains are yellow and semi dent to flint. The cob is white. It matures in about 86 days. It yielded 1800 and 1860 kg/acre under irrigated conditions. It is susceptible to post flowering stalk rots.

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