Protected cultivation of vegetables – A Success story
George-RainShelter         In Kerala the production of vegetables is low during the monsoon period due to heavy rainfall and unfavourable conditions. Kerala depends on neighbouring states for its vegetable requirements during the period. If the local farmers were able to take up vegetable cultivation during the off season, they can to realize better income. Protected cultivation helps the farmers to grow vegetables year-round, but a hi-tech green house with sophisticated environmental control cannot be recommended to farmers with limited resources. The rain culture technology comes to the rescue of such farmers. Rainshelter is a low cost structure with a frame work made of locally available materials and covered with transparent UV stabilized polythene sheet. The approximate cost of a structure with wooden or bamboo frame having a floor area of 100 m2 will be about Rs.15,000/-


     Technology assessment programme on rainshelter cultivation of vegetables was initiated in three farmers’ fields at Koorachundu, Thamarassery and Chakkittapara panchayats of the district. Vegetables such as okra, tomato, brinjal, chilli, amaranthus, cucumber and cool season vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, carrot and beet root were cultivated in the shelter. The trial was a great success and farmers harvested 25 to 30 percent additional yield compared to open field cultivation. The quality attributes of the produce were better with fewer incidences of diseases. Since the vegetables were organically produced, the farmers could easily sell out their produces at high remunerative prices. Cool season vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower, introduced for the first time in the locality, out performed more than the expectations. Realizing the success of protected cultivation, more farmers decided to adopt the technology.