Cucumber & melon
Vegetable farming is getting wide popularity at present. Vegetables play a significant
role in human nutrition, especially as sources of vitamins, minerals and trace elements
apart from being the major suppliers of dietary fibre. Including vegetables in the
daily diet have been found to reduce risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke, and
other chronic ailments. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended
a daily intake of 275g of vegetable per adult per day, however the actual consumption
is less than 100g only.
India is the second largest producer of vegetables in the world next to China.
However, Kerala is a consumer state as far as vegetables are concerned. Major share
of the fresh vegetable supply for the state comes from neighbouring states. Promoting
vegetable cultivation in the state coupled with suitable marketing mechanism will
not only help to make the state self reliant in vegetable production but also ensure
year round availability of quality vegetables.
Shortage of good quality seed materials, unscientific cultivation practices and
improper plant protection practices followed are the major bottlenecks associated
with vegetable cultivation. Small and uneconomic holding sizes also seriously
hinder commercialization of vegetables in the state. Because of the heavy pressure
on land, scope for area expansion is much limited. A way out is to produce maximum
from unit area by resorting to intensive and scientific cultivation practices. Encouraging
homestead level cultivation of vegetables and making use of the backyards and rooftops
for vegetable production could be another alternative. In this section, scientific
crop management practices of major vegetables relevant to Kerala are highlighted.