Tomato is an important commercial vegetable crop for farmers. Tomato farmers are facing various problems due to outbreak of pest and diseases related to climate change, labor shortage and borewells going dry etc. In the last few years, late blight has emerged as a devastating disease for tomato farmers in Kharif and late Kharif season. Cost of inputs has gone up and labor availability has become a major problem. Farmers are increasingly finding it difficult to cope with the rise in input costs and other biotic and abiotic problems facing them.
So to mitigate these problems, IIHR, Bangalore initiated technology demonstration on plastic mulching, drip irrigation& fertigation in tomato crop. The technology involves
- split application of nutrients along with irrigation water at low concentration which increases the efficacy of fertigation through decreased quantity of applied fertilizers, because fertilizers are applied directly to the root zone
- improved timing of fertilization , due to more frequent application which makes it possible to match plant requirement at various crop growth stages
- improved distribution of fertilizers with minimum loss through leaching beyond the root zone or losses through run-off.
This technology was taken up in Agrahara village of Dasanapura Hobli in Bangalore North Taluk of Bangalore urban district and was successfully demonstrated. The practice of mulching aids in moisture conservation, weed suppression and maintenance of soil structure. Mulches also improve the use efficiency of applied fertilizer and use of reflective mulches to minimize the incidences of pests and virus diseases. Farmers were very enthusiastic seeing the results of plastic mulching and drip irrigation. Farmers from the village are of the opinion that by following these two technologies, they can reduce the wastage of water & fertilizers. The new technologies have reduced the water requirement by 50-70% and also reduced the cost on fertilizers. The incidence of pest and diseases has come down. The number of seedlings required for planting per acre also has come down by 25 %. The fruits obtained were of better quality and colour, which fetched more prices in the market. A filed day on “Improved production technology in tomato crop” was organised under the project “National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture” on 22nd October, 2011. Seventy farmers from in and round the villages attended the Field Day. The Director, IIHR, along with a team of scientists from the Divisions of Entomology & Nematology; Vegetable Crops, Plant Pathology and Entomology & Nematology attended the programme.