Cultivation under Insect Proof Net with Drip Irrigation System in Anuradhapura District

An Exposure Visit had been undertaken on 14 March 2019 by the staff members of the office of the Deputy Provincial Director of Agriculture and farmers of Jaffna district to Natchuvadakulam village in Anuradhapura district where some farmers have started practicing innovative and environmentally safe methods in their cultivation using Insect Proof Net for protecting crops from pests and Drip Irrigation System for increasing irrigation efficiency . This field visit was carried out under Agriculture Sector Modernization Project being implemented with the funding of World Bank .

Deputy Provincial Project Director Agriculture Sector Modernization Project for Northern Province K.Pathmanathan, Deputy Provincial Director of Agriculture for Jaffna district Mrs.Anchanadevi Srirangan, Agriculture Expert of Agriculture Sector Modernization Project Vijitharan, 04 Agriculture Instructors and 04 Project Beneficiaries participated in the Exposure Visit

Objective of this innovative and environmentally safe practices is to improving the quality of Chilli and Bitter gourd. The project has encouraged the farmers to adopt Good Agriculture Practice in their cultivation. 10 young farmers for Chilli cultivation and 10 young farmers for Bitter gourd cultivation were selected under this project and supported with Insect Proof net and drip irrigation system. This materials are sufficient for ½ an acre cultivation. Drip Irrigation System were provided to each farmer on subsidy basis.

The variety Pali F1 in Bitter gourd was planted by the beneficiaries. Yellowing of leaves and fruit flies attack are serious problems in Bitter gourd cultivation. Virus is the causal agent for yellowing of leaves. The vector for spreading virus is white flies. Therefore, 40 mesh insect proofs net was used to cover the cultivation site for a height of 10’ in order to prevent the infestation of the White flies and fruit flies into the area of crops covered by it.

Water and fertilizers are supplied through Drip Irrigation System. Sixty Bitter gourd plants have been found to be planted in a row. Two drippers have been supplying water to the base of each plant. 2 LPH drippers are used in this irrigation system. Drip Irrigation System is operated for 01 to 1.5 hours per day to irrigate the crops.

Fertilizer management concerned, about 2.5 kg NPK mixture is mixed with 0.5kg Albert solution and it is supplied to the plants through fertigation tank in 20 days interval. Bitter gourd plants are now at flowering stage.

Leaf Curl Complex (LCC) is serious problem in Chilli cultivation. The LCC is caused by Thrips, Mites and Virus. The vector for virus is white flies. Therefore, 40 mesh insect proofs net was used to cover the cultivation site for a height of 10’ in order to prevent the infestation of the White flies, Thrips and Mites to the plant population.

The soil space in between the plants is covered by polythene mulch for efficient, effective and economical management of water as well as fertilizer. Here, 2.5’ x 1’ sized beds have been formed and drip irrigation systems were installed on the bed in 02 rows.

It is obviously clear that we can reduce the application of agrochemicals as much as possible by cultivating the crops in the lands covered by insect proof net under drip irrigation systems.