Exotic vegetable Farming In India – A Guide to Farmers
What is Exotic Vegetable farming?
Exotic vegetable farming refers to farming of non-indigenous varieties of plants that are not traditionally grown in a particular area. These plants are often grown under specific and controlled environments like greenhouses or net-houses (also called poly houses). But these plants always need greenhouse surroundings for their healthy growth. There are many exotic vegetables grown in India these days like broccoli, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, parsley, lemon grass, zucchini etc. In this article we will understand why these vegetables are called exotic and how they can be a profitable business for even small scale farmers!
Why Is Exotic Vegetable Farming Is Booming In India?
Some of the reasons are:
- Increase in the middle and high-income group in India
- Access to global recipes online
- Awareness about the health benefits of these vegetables ( these vegetables can be store house of nutrients )
- Catering to niche and elite sections of the society
- Regular intake of some of these vegetables will help in avoiding lifestyle disease like obesity, diabetes etc
Points to Note While Farming Exotic Vegetables:
Climatic and Region Selection:
Selection of exotic plants based on climatic condition of your place is of paramount importance. For example, Broccoli and celery grow well in cooler conditions while, basil and cherry tomatoes grow well in warmer conditions.
Since these are non-native plants. They are susceptible to harsh weather conditions and pests. Hence we need to take care to provide a controlled growing environment by providing greenhouses and net houses. This helps un providing optimum conditions for the plants to grow.
Each of these exotic vegetables may have specific soil preferences. For example, basil prefers well-drained, loamy soil, while cherry tomatoes benefit from rich, organic matter in the soil. So choose the plants accordingly!
Study the water requirement for exotic vegetable that you are planning to grow. For example, broccoli and basil require well drained and loamy soil, whereas cherry tomatoes are happy when the soil is rich in organic matter.
Crop Rotation and Pest Control:
Crop rotation is very essential for any type of crops especially for exotic vegetables as this method will help to conserve the nutrients in the soil. They also help break disease cycles associated with these vegetables. For example, in the case of broccoli, rotating broccoli farming with legumes in the first year, leafy greens(like spinach, lettuce) or root vegetables ( like carrot, radish) in the second year will help in optimizing the yield of the vegetables. After harvesting the vegetables, farmers should consider growing cover crops also to replenish the nutrients.
It is also important for farmers to get information and if possible training from Govt institutes like ICAR before venturing into exotic vegetable farming.
Market for Exotic vegetables:
According to reports, for the year 2023-28 there will be significant rise in demand of exotic vegetables to about CAGR of 16.30%. This market growth can also be attributed to the improving infrastructure and rapidly increasing international trade in fruits and vegetables.
Common Pests Affecting the Exotic Vegetables:
Though the pests affecting the exotic vegetables may vary for each vegetable, some of the common pests affecting them are:
Aphids: Aphids are small, sap-sucking insects that can damage various vegetables, including cherry tomatoes and basil. Neem oil and pyrethrin-based insecticides are commonly used to control aphids.
Whiteflies: Whiteflies are tiny, winged insects that feed on plant sap and transmit diseases. Exotic vegetables like cherry tomatoes can be affected. Neem oil, and pyrethroids are effective against whiteflies.
Caterpillars: Caterpillars, such as the cabbage looper, can be problematic for broccoli. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) sprays are commonly used as a biological control method against caterpillars.
Leaf Miners: Leaf miners create tunnels within leaves, affecting growth of plants like spinach. Systemic insecticides, such as imidacloprid, are very effective against these leaf miners.
Thrips: Thrips are tiny insects that damage leaves and flowers. They can affect crops like basil. Neem oil and pyrethroids are used to manage thrips.
Root-knot Nematodes: These microscopic worms can damage the roots of many plants, including exotic vegetables like eggplant. Soil fumigants and nematicides are used for nematode control.
Some of our products which can be used to protect few exotic vegetables are:
The thriving exotic vegetable market in India presents a golden opportunity for farmers to diversify their crops and enhance their income. With careful planning, knowledge-sharing, and sustainable farming practices, this surge in exotic vegetable production holds the potential to revolutionize the Indian agricultural sector, creating a win-win scenario for both farmers and consumers alike.