Research Article

Organic Production of Horticultural Crops in North East Region of India  

L.C. De
ICAR-NRC for Orchids, Pakyong, Sikkim, India
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Horticulture, 2018, Vol. 8, No. 16   doi: 10.5376/ijh.2018.08.0016
Received: 04 Jun., 2018    Accepted: 11 Jul., 2018    Published: 30 Aug., 2018
© 2018 BioPublisher Publishing Platform
This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

De L.C., 2018, Organic production of horticultural crops in north east region of India, International Journal of Horticulture, 8(16): 184-196 (doi: 10.5376/ijh.2018.08.0016)

Abstract

In the world, 160 countries are practicing organic agriculture with a certified organic cultivated area of 37 million ha and non-agriculture organic area (wild harvest) of 41.9 million ha. India has the largest number certified organic producers over 67,725 with 3.95 million ha under organic farming. During 2010, India accounted for 1,624,339 MT of certified organic produce. India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world and occupies first position in the production of fruits like mango, banana, papaya, sapota, pomegranate, acid lime and aonla and vegetables like peas and okra. It is next only to China in production of many vegetables like potato, tomato, onion, brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli etc. In terms of its contribution to the national production, the North East (NE) region accounts for about 5.1% (fruits) and 4.5% for vegetables. In India, Uttaranchal, North-East States, Chhatishgarh have taken initiatives for promoting organic farming meeting with IFOAM standards. The potential organic sources of plant nutrients are green manure crops, crop rotation, crop residues, organic manures, farm yard manure (FYM), night soil, sludges, oilcakes, blood meal, compost, phospho-compost, vermin-compost, biogass slurry, agricultural wastes, press mud, biodynamic preparations, biofertilizers etc. Major organic produce dominate exports for developing countries include tea, coffee, spices, high value fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, oilseeds, cotton, cereals, pulses and meat/poultry and fish products. A number of horticulture based farming systems are prevalent for employment generation and sustainable livelihood of people of the region.

Keywords
Fruits; Vegetables; Organic farming; Economy; Biodiversity

Background

India is bestowed with wide range of climate and physic-geographical conditions and as such is most suitable for growing various kinds of horticultural crops such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, nuts, spices and plantation crops (coconut, cashewnut and cocoa) (De, 2014). Its horticulture production has increased significantly over the last two decades and as per the final estimates, by 2013-14, it has increased to about three times (2.87) since 1991-92 and to about twice (1.90) compared to the production in 2001-02 (Saxena and Gandhi, 2014). This has placed India among the foremost countries in horticulture production, just next to China (De, 2014). As per National Horticulture Database 2014, during 2013-14, India’s contribution in the world production of fruits & vegetables was 13.6% & 14%, respectively. Total production of fruits during 2013-14 was about 89 million tonnes while that of vegetables was 163 million tonnes (Saxena and Gandhi, 2014). 

 

India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices (De, 2014). It is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world and occupies first position in the production of fruits like mango (Mangifera indica L.), banana (Musa paradisiaca L.), papaya (Carica papaya L.), sapota (Achras sapota L.), pomegranate (Punica granatum L.), acid lime (Citrus aurantifolia L.), aonla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) and vegetables like pea (Pisum sativum L.) and okra (Abelmoschus esculentus Medik). It is next only to china in production of many vegetables like potato (Solanum tuberosum), tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), onion (Allium cepa L.), brinjal (Solanum melongena), cabbage (Brassica oleracea capitata L.), cauliflower (Brassica oleracea botrytis L.) and broccoli (Brassica oleracea italica L.) etc (De and Bhattacharjee, 2010). 

 

Besides meeting the increasing demand of the domestic population, which continues to grow, India exports some portion of its horticulture produce. During 2013-14 total exports of horticulture produce by India was 3.69 million metric tonnes which amounted to about Rs 143.6 billion (Saxena and Gandhi, 2014). Even though the quantum of export decreased in comparison to the year before i.e. 2012-13 when it was 3.7 million metric tonnes , the value of export of horticulture produce increased by about 35.6% from Rs 105.9 billion in 2012-13 (Saxena and Gandhi, 2014). Except for 2010-11 when the exports of horticulture declined by about 7%, the export of horticulture produce has seen an increased during the last six years (Saxena and Gandhi, 2014). 

 

Improper farming practices such as monocropping, imbalanced fertilization, poor soil organic matter management, soil contamination, soil compaction, mining of soil nutrients, water logging, depletion of ground water, decline in soil biodiversity and changing pest and disease complex and application of imbalanced NPK fertilizers ratio of 7.9:3:1 as against normal values of 4:2:1 are the major factors for soil degradation (Purohit and Gehlot, 2006). Looking the adverse effects of fertilizers and chemicals stress is being given to promote organic farming. The data indicates that per consumption of fertilizers and pesticides in India is 91.5 kg and 0.38 kg, respectively which are far below than other countries (Purohit and Gehlot, 2006). The unprecedented rise in population will lead to the increased demand of food. The projected population for 2020 is 154 crores for which there will be a requirement of 385 million tonnes of food grain (Bhattacharya, 2004). It is estimated that plant nutrients (NPK) addition during 2020 will be removal of 37.46 million tonnes nutrients by crops for which nutrient additions generally fall short of requirement i.e. 7.86 million tonnes. In this context, the projected (2025) availability of plant nutrients trapable from organic sources is 7.75 million tonnes (Purohit and Gehlot, 2006). Besides, there is growing demand for organic produce which gets higher remunerative price even if yields are lower. Most of people believe that organic farming is the right choice for the long term future of the earth. 

 

In India, 74% farmers owning less than 2 ha of land can adopt organic practices easily and manage farm inputs and labour more efficiently (Purohit and Gehlot, 2006). The average productivity of 1.0 t ha-1 of traditional rainfed agriculture can be enhanced up to 2.0 t ha-1 through organic agriculture. There is tremendous potential to substitute organic fertilizers through organics mainly crop residues, green loppings, green manures, organic manures, oil cakes, bio-fertilizers, crop rotations, animal excreta etc. The existence of traditional knowledge and farming systems have strong linkage between agriculture, livestock and others which can provide better livelihood security to farm families. Varied agro-climatic conditions and longer growing periods are prevailing in India to meet the offseason growing demands of export and the domestic markets. The organic sector is growing at 25-30%, creating employment opportunities for production, processing and value chain at rural areas and also marketing in cities (De et al., 2016). In India, Uttaranchal, North-East States, Chhatishgarh have taken initiatives for promoting organic farming (Purohit and Gehlot, 2006). 

 

1 Horticulture Scenario in North East Region

There is immense potential for vertical and horizontal growth in horticulture sector in the region. At present horticultural crops account for only 18.60% of cultivated area (Table 1). This share is highest in Sikkim followed by Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Assam and Nagaland. There is need to expand area under horticultural crops particularly in Assam, Mizoram and Nagaland where at present it is less than 20% of the cultivated area (De, 2017).

 

Table 1 Area under horticulture production in particular regions of NE India

 

In terms of its contribution to the national production, the Region accounts for about 5.1% (fruits) and 4.5% for vegetables (De, 2017).

 

In the NEH Region, the total area under horticultural crops is around 857.8 thousand hectare which is around 3.14 per cent of the total geographical area of the region and it gives total production of 7,815.9 thousand tonnes (Table 2) (De, 2017).

 

Table 2 Crop wise area, production and productivity of horticultural crops of NE region of India (2010-11)

Note: Source: De (2017)

 

1.1 Fruit crops

Within the horticulture sector in the NE region, fruit crops occupy 40.14%, vegetables 51.83% and spices 8.03% area. From the production point of view, fruit crops contributed 37.75%, vegetables 57.60% and spices 4.65% to the horticulture production basket of the NE region (De, 2017). Considering the excellent climatic conditions, abundant rainfall and fertile soil (high organic content) of the region, the productivity of different horticultural crops is quite low as compared to national productivity. 

 

Among fruits, citrus has the largest area under cultivation (34%), followed by banana (24%), pineapple (17%), apple (4%), papaya, mango, litchi, passion fruit (3% each), guava (2%) and kiwi (1%). Other fruits have 6% of the total horticulture area under cultivation. In terms of production, banana has the largest share (34%), followed by pineapple (24%), citrus (21%), papaya (6%), mango, guava, passion fruit (3% each), litchi (2%), grapes and apple (1% each) (De, 2017). 

 

1.2 Vegetable crops

Among vegetables, potato has the maximum area (27%) under cultivation followed by cabbage (10%), peas (7%), cauliflower (6%), tomato and brinjal (5%), okra and chilli (4%), onion (2%) while other vegetables have 30% of the total area under vegetable cultivation (De, 2017).

 

In terms of production, potato has the highest production and contributes 22% to vegetable production in NER followed by other vegetables (22%), cabbage (18%), tomato (11%), cauliflower (9%), brinjal (7%), okra (4%), peas and chilli (2% each) and onion (1%) (De, 2017).

 

1.3 Status of organic production and productivity of major horticultural crops

State wise area, production and productivity of horticultural crops of NE region of India in the years (2010-11) is listed Table 3. The major horticultural crops are given in Table 4

 

Table 3 State wise, production and productivity of horticultural crops in North East region of India (2010-11)

Note: Source: NHB and State Departments

 

Table 4 Major horticultural crops in NE region of India

 

Organized cultivation of crops like kiwi, passion fruit, off season vegetables, anthurium, cut flowers (rose), patchouli, geranium etc. has started in recent years (De, 2017). While food grains are grown in the valleys (plain and gentle slopes), horticulture crops are cultivated on higher hill slopes. Considerable diversity exists among the regional horticultural species including variation in plant type, morphological and physiological characteristics, reactions to diseases and pest adaptability and distribution. In addition to their nutrition value, many regional horticultural crops are also used for medicinal purposes (De, 2017). The diversity of major crops in NE region is recorded as: 

 

Taro-300 species

Yams-200 species

Citrus-17 species

Banana-16 species and 120 variants

Medicinal Aromatic Plants and Herbs-306 species (De, 2017). 

 

The annual linear rates of growth in area and production of horticultural crops in NE region are given in Table 5.

 

Table 5 The annual linear rates of growth in area and production of horticultural crops in NE region with considerable variations across the States

 

1.3.1 Lesser known fruit crops of NEH region (De, 2017)

(1) Meghalaya: Prunus nepalensis, Citrus indica, Myrica nagi, Eleagnus khasianum, Flemingia vestits, Docynia indica khasiana, Citrus macroptera, Citrus latipes.

 

(2) Assam: Citrus lemon, C. jambhiri, C. megaloxycarpa, C. assmensis, Artocarpus lakoocha, Dillenia indica, Averhoea carambola.

 

(3) Nagaland: Citrus ichangensis, C. aurantium, Musa magnesium, Malus baccata.

 

(4) Sikkim: Musa sikkimensis, Baccaurea sapida, Docynia indica.

 

(5) Tripura: Psidium guinense, Zizyphus mauritiana, Citrus megaloxycarpa, Phyllanthus acidus, Flacourtica indica, Baccaurea sapida, Averrhoea carambola.

 

(6) Arunachal Pradesh: Garicinia cowa, Baccaurea sapida, Citrus medica, Sterculia hamiltonii, Actinidia chinensis, Mangifera sylvatica, M. chassina, Musa ornata, Musa velutina, Nepheleum lappaceum, Lithocarpus spp., Castanopsis indica, Fragaria spp.

 

1.3.2 Wild edible vegetable of NEH region

They are Chenopodium spp., Rhynchotechum elliptium, Houttuynia cordata, Clerodendrum colebroekianum, Erygium foetidum, Parkia roxburghii, Momordica cochinchinensis, Momordica dioica, Sechium edule, Vigna vexillata, Solanum depressum, Solanum sepentinum, Psophocarpus tetragonolobus, Allium hookerii.

 

1.3.3 High potential medicinal plants of NE region (De, 2017) 

• Panax psuedoxinseng - AIDS

• Hydnocarpus curzii - Leprosy

• Litsea cubeba - Paralysis

• Clerodendrum colebrookianum - Heart disease

• Coptis teeta - Malaria

• Vitex trifolia - tuberculosis

• Aconitum heterophyllum - Diabetes and rheumatism

• Alpinia galanga - Skin disease

• Cucurma caesia - Swellings, sprains

• Taxus baccata - Breast cancer

• Acorus calamus - Influenza, headache, cough, cold

• Ambrosia artimisifolia - wounds, cuts

• Antidesma brunius - syphilic ulcers

• Achyranthes aspera - leprosy

 

1.3.4 Horticultural crops used in NTFP (De, 2017)

• Fibre: Okra, pineapple, snake plant, banana.

•Fodder: Artocarpus lakoocha, Prunus cerasoides, Ficus hookerii.

• Dyes: Cucurma, Myrica nagi, Garcinia cowa.

• Essential oils: Alpinia, Cinnamomum, Cymbopogon, Ocimum, Pogostemon, Vanilla.

• Phytochemicals: Olive, citrus, coconut, pineapple, papaya, jackfruit, apple.

 

2 Technological Interventions

Concerted research efforts have been made by research institutes to identify a large number of improved varieties and production technologies of fruits, vegetables, tuber crops including potato and plantation crops suitable for the region grown organically (De, 2017).

 

2.1 Fruit crops

Based on the survey conducted in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim and Assam, a large number of citrus species were collected and analyzed for physiochemical characteristics (De, 2017). Suitable rootstocks for grafting and budding of different types of citrus have been identified (De, 2017). Varieties of Indian and exotic origins of different fruit crops like guava, peach, passion fruit, kiwi, strawberry, banana, pineapple, litchi, mango, papaya etc. have been identified. 

 

• Citrus: Khasi mandarin, Assam lemon, Acid lime, Sweet orange.

• Peach: TA 170, Floridasun, Shan-e-Punjab, Sharbati.

• Plum: Santarosa, Alton, Titrok.

• Pear : Bartlett, Baghughosa, Sand Pear, Patharnakh Red.

• Apple: Royal Delicious, Rich-a-Red, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious.

• Kiwi: Bruno, Allison, Abbot, and Hayward.

• Guava: Allahabad Safeda, L-49, and H-7.

• Strawberry: Sweet Charlie, Ofra, and Chandler.

• Passion fruit: Purple, Yellow, Kaveri.

• Banana: Jahaji, Borjahaji, Chinichampa, Malbhog.

• Litchi: Sahi, China, Bedana and Rose Scented.

• Pineapple : Kew, Queen.

• Mango: Amrapalli.

• Papaya: Honey Dew, CO-2 (De, 2017).

 

Propagation techniques in guava, peach, citrus, passion fruit and kiwi have been standardized (Table 6) (De, 2014). 

 

Table 6 Standardization of propagation technique of major fruit crop in the region

 

High density plantation in banana, pineapple and guava has been standardized. In banana, cv. ‘Dwarf Cavendish’ is found effective in the spacing of 1.5 m x 1.5 m under Arunachal Pradesh climate. In pineapple, double row system of planting across the slope at the spacing of 30 x 45 x 90 cm is found to accommodate 45,000 plants/ha and to produce 40-50 tonnes yield per hectare (De and Bhattacharjee, 2008). 

 

An integrated approach in rejuvenation of citrus especially in Khasi mandarin and acid lime has been developed through preparation of half moon terraces and cleaning of basin, adoption of sanitation processes like removal of water shoots, dry and diseased twigs, lichens, mosses and parasites and orchard management practices like nutrient management practices schedule, Integrated Pest Management, moisture conservation measures and dehorning at 1 m and 1.5 m height. 

 

2.2 Vegetables

In vegetable crops, improved varieties and hybrids have been identified suitable for varied agroclimates (Table 7). Package of practices for tomato, capsicum, French bean, brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower, sweet potato, colocasia, turmeric, ginger and chilli have been developed (De, 2017). Organic cultivation of ginger, turmeric and cole crops has been initiated (Sarangi and De, 2006). Some F1 hybrids of brinjal and tomato, resistant to bacterial wilt are also in the advance stage at ICAR Research Complex, Umiam (De, 2017). 

 

Table 7 Identified varieties of vegetable crops for NE region of India

 

2.3 Improved/local varieties of spices

• Tumeric: Lakadong, Megha Turmeric-1.

•Ginger: Nadia, China, Varada.

• Large cardamom: Ramla, Red Sawney, Belak, Golsey, Madhusey, Ramsey.

 

In plantation crops coconut-arecanut based cropping system involving spices and fruit crops have been developed for the region.

 

• Arecanut: Mangala, Sumangala.

• Black pepper: Panniyur, Hybrid-1-7, Panchami, Pournami.

 

2.4 Floriculture

The region is rich in ornamental palnts like orchids, Bauhinia, Cassia, Callistemon, Erythrina, Jacaranda, Magnolia, Rhododendron, Azalia, Bougainvillea, Camelia, Gardenia hibiscus, Jatropa, Nerium, Thumbergia. Out of 1,350 orchid species reported, 900 species occur in NE region. Among orchid species, Vanda teres, Vanda coerulea, Renanthera imschootiana, Paphiopedilum, Dendrobium, Cymbidium, Cattleyas, Rhyncostylis retusa are common. This region is potential for production of commercial flowers like orchids in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim; anthurium in Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland; liliums in Nagaland; rose in Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland; Gladiolus in Tripura; carnation in Meghalaya and Nagaland; gladiolus in Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Manipur and gerbera in Meghalaya and Assam (Table 8). In gladiolus and gerbera, suitable varieties have been identified for the region (Rajiv Kumar and De, 2007).

 

Table 8 Potential flower crops of NE region of India

 

2.4.1 Improved varieties of some organically grown commercial flowers

• Gladiolus: Friendship, Her Majesty, Summer Times, Bis Bis, White Prosperity, Novalux, Jester Gold, Oscar, Pusa Archana, Pusa Shagun and Dhanvantari.

 

• Gerbera: Piton, Monarch, Pink Elegance, RCGH-117, Alesmeera. 

 

2.5 Integrated nutrient management

Fertilizer schedule management based on analysis of leaf and soil nutrient status through appropriate diagnostic tools, use of soluble organic fertilizers through drip irrigation system, improvement of soil fertility through addition of green manures, composts, liquid manures, cowdung, cowurine, vermicompost, vermiwash and use of biofertilizer like VAM (Glomus fasciculataum G. mosseae) and other phosphate solubilizers like microphos and phosphobactrin @ 200 g/tree/year enhances phosphorus availability and improve fruit yield and quality (De, 2017). Glomus fasciculatum enhances root growth and nutrient uptake in citrus, yield increase up to 20% in papaya, 20-30% in banana and 50% saving of super phosphate in chilli and Glomus mosseae saves 50% super phosphate in chilli and yield increase up 35% in tomato (De, 2017).

 

2.6 Integrated soil and water management

Mulching, preparation of half-moon terraces, bench terraces, contour bunding, planting of double row of herbaceous fruits crops across the slope and fruit trees on the contour line, use of drip irrigation system for high value fruit crops and construction of water storage tank (Jalkund) for life saving irrigation have been observed as proven technologies for soil and water management (De, 2017). 

 

2.7 Development of horticulture based cropping system

Suitable land use systems such as Agrihorti (growing of two third area with horticultural crops and one third area with cereals), Agri-horti-silvi pastoral (growing of one third area with horticultural crops, one third area with fodder trees and rest one third area with cereals and fodder grasses), mixed horti (growing of two third area with horticultural crops and one third area with vegetable crops), pure horti (growing fruit crops only), horti-silvi-pastoral (growing of fruits, vegetables, fodders, fuel wood, timber), and multi-tier horticulture system (growing of horticultural crops of different heights viz. arecanut + black pepper + ginger or turmeric ) should be developed based on agroclimate zones, crop priority, topography and socio-economical factors (Purohit and Gehlot, 2006). 

 

3 Present Status of Organic Agriculture

Organic agriculture is gaining importance in European countries, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, India and others. In the world, 160 countries are practicing organic agriculture with a certified organic cultivated area of 37 million ha and non-agriculture organic area (wild harvest) of 41.9 million ha (Purohit and Gehlot, 2006). India has the largest number certified organic producers over 67,725 with 3.95 million ha under organic farming. During 2010, India accounted for 1,624,339 MT of certified organic produce (Purohit and Gehlot, 2006). This country is the largest producer of organic cotton. Karnataka is the first state to introduce policy on organic farming on 24-03-2004 and organic movement in India. In India, Uttaranchal, North-East States, Chhatishgarh have taken initiatives for promoting organic farming (Purohit and Gehlot, 2006).

 

3.1 Organic market

Major organic produce dominate exports for developing countries include plantation commodities viz. tea, coffee, spices, high value fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, oilseeds, cotton, cereals, pulses and meat/poultry and fish products (Purohit and Gehlot, 2006). In 2000, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, launched the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) to ensure focused and well directed development of agriculture (Purohit and Gehlot, 2006). Recently, the following agencies have been approved as accreditation agencies by the Government of India to formulate the National Program for Organic Production:

 

• Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)

• Spice Board

• Coffee Board

• Tea Board

• Coconut Development Board

• Directorate of Cashew and Cocoa Development

 

Under NPOP, documents such as national standards, accreditation criteria for accrediting inspection and certification agencies, accreditation procedure, inspection and certification procedures have been prepared on the basis of guidelines evolved by International Organizations viz., IFOAM, EU regulations and CODEX Standards (Purohit and Gehlot, 2006). 

 

3.2 Organic sources and their role

The potential organic sources of plant nutrients are green manure crops, crop rotation, crop residues, organic manures, FYM, Night soil, sludges, oilcakes, blood meal, compost, phospho-compost, vermi-compost, biogass slurry, agricultural wastes, press mud, Biodynamic preparations, biofertilizers etc. (Sharma, 2004). Organic sources improve soil structure, soil aeration, water holding capacity and reduce soil losses due to erosion. They supply nutrients in a balanced ratio and stimulate soil flora and fauna (Sharma, 2004).

 

The organic sources for essential elements are given in Table 9.

 

Table 9 Organic sources for essential elements (De et al., 2007)

 

In this text, 1 ton green leaf manure = 10 kg of urea; Optimum dose of green biomass = 4 to 5 tonnes/ha.

 

4 Organic Nutrient Manageent in Horticultural Crops

4.1 Principle and practices of organic horticulture

4.1.1 Orchard management

(1) Covering cropping using grasses or legumes.

 

(2) Crop rotation with annuals or perennials.

 

(3) Pest management through IPM.

 

(4) Nutrient management through compost mixing with soil using shallow tillage, addition of organic manures like leaf manure, cowdung, vermicompost, biodynamic field sprays, cow pat pit manures, liquid manures, hybrid compost, vermiwash, biofertilizers etc.

 

(5) Organic weed management through cover crops, organic mulches (straw, spoiled hay, leaves, wood dust, sugarcane trash etc.), use of geotextiles, sheet mulch, use of weed harrowing, Implements or heel hoe, use of allowed herbicides like vinegar, citric acid in each terraces.

 

(6) Water management through drip irrigation, half moon terracing, full moon terracing, planting across the slope, vegetable barriers etc (Purohit and Gehlot, 2006; Munda et al., 2007).

 

Post harvest management starting from washing, grazing, packing and storage should be practiced carefully to prevent contamination (De, 2007).

 

4.2 Traditional additives for organic agriculture

Traditional additives comprises of bulky organic manures mainly Farm Yard Manure (FYM) for improvement of soil total nitrogen (Bharadwaj and Guar, 1985); compost which can be prepared from crop residues, weeds and vegetative biomass, sugarcane trash and pressmud, coir waste, tea waste; green manures obtained from sunhemp, Sesbania aculeata, Gliricidia maculata (Chakraborty et al., 2006), cowpea, cluster bean; sewage and sludge from cities and towns; sheep, goat and poultry manure; concentrated organic manures viz. oilcakes like castor cake, karanj cake, cotton seed cake, mahua cake, safflower cake, groundnut cake, linseed cake, rapeseed cake and sesame cake; meat meal, blood meal and fish meal which have adequate amounts of NPK (0.5-2.0% N, 0.2-1.0% P2O5 and 0.5-2.0% K2O) and higher C:N ratio. Neem cake is widely used for controlling nematode in oranges and tomato (Purohit and Gehlot, 2006). 

 

4.3 Adoption of integrated farming systems

Integrated Farming Systems aim to increase production, income and to improve nutrition of small scale farmers with available resources. Components of farming system includes all types of crops like field crops, horticultural trees, animals (cattle, buffalo, pig, goats, sheep, fish), sericulture, apiculture, mushroom cultivation, forage crops, flowers and vegetable cultivation, biogas production and non-conventional plant resources (Munda et al., 2007). An effective farming system includes the cropping system(s), the livestock system(s) and the farm household. Diversified farming system increases productivity, profitability, balanced food ratio, adoption of new technology; solves energy, fodder, fuel and timber crisis; avoids degradation of forests and environmental pollution, generates employment and provides opportunities for Agro-industries by utilizing the natural resources efficiently and this will help in maintaining sustainability (Table 10). 

 

Table 10 Main components of organic crop production (Munda et al., 2007)

 

4.4 Organic substrate media for growing various flower crops

Compost, garden soil, carbonized rice hull, coir dust, saw dust, fine sand, poultry manure and other organic materials are used as potting materials for various ornamentals (Table 11). Potting media should be sterilized in boiling water, solar irradiation or by burning or heating before planting to control soil borne diseases. 

 

Table 11 Organic substrate media for growing ornamentals (Kumar and De, 2007; De, 2013; De et al., 2016)

 

4.5 Biopesticides and biocontrol agents for insect-pests and disease management

There are several ways to control insect-pests in eco-friendly way with bio-control methods. Some of important tactics are:

 

(1) Cultural practices: crop rotation, use of resistant varieties, mixed cropping, habitat manipulation, trap crops.

 

(2) Physical and mechanical methods: Removal of infected/infested plants/plant parts, removal of visible eggs, larvae etc., use of light traps, use of pheromone traps, use of colour stripes etc.

 

(3) Biological control: Biological control is one of the important ways to manage insect pests and diseases in organic farming by using naturally occurring biological agents.

 

(4) Predators: Biological agents which eat insect pests, e.g., frogs, lizards, ducks, spider, dragon fly, coccinellid beetle, meadow grass hoppers, mired bugs, crickets, ants, sparrows and other birds.

 

(5) Parasitoids: These are friendly species which complete their life cycle on different stages of insect-pests. There are different types of parasitoids including egg parasitoids, larval parasitoids, pupal parasitoids, adults, egg-larval parasitoids, larval-pupal parasitoids etc., e.g., Trichogramma spp., Bracon spp., Apanteles spp, Brachymeria spp. An encyrtid wasp, Anagyrus sp (Howard) as a parasitoid of long tailed mealy bug, Psuedococcus longispinus and Mealy bug, Pseudococcus sp. infesting Orchids from Sikkim, India.

 

(6) Microbes: These microorganisms cause various diseases in the insect-pests. Fungi like Beauvaria spp., Trichoderma spp., Metarrhizum spp., Entomophora spp. act as biocontrol agents. Among viruses, Nuclear Polyhedrosis virus, Granulosis virus are biocontrol agents. Bacteria like Pseudomonas spp., Bacillus thuringiensis, Bacillus popoli act as biocontrol agents. Microbial biopesticides, Metarhizium anisopliae and Verticillium lecanii @ 2 ml/Litre of water was found effective in reducing the crawlers populations of Biosduval scale insect, Diaspis biosduvalii with mean population reduction of 73.70% and 81.35%, respectively.

 

(7) Naturally Plant Products: These are botanical pesticides derived from plants, e.g., pyrethrins, nicotenes, azadirachtin, rotenone etc. Highest mean population reduction in mite population was observed in plants treated with 5% extracts of Allium sativum and neem oil (0.03%), respectively.

 

4.6 Indigenous practices of organic cultivation (De and Sarangi, 2006)

• Agnihotra farming: Growth promoter, insecticide.

 

• Panchagavya: Quality banana production, yield increase in cole crops.

 

• Cowdung: Insect pests & disease control, seed germination.

 

• Tobacco leaf extraction: Insect control.

 

• Neem or karaglate: Soil borne disease control.

 

• Alder agriculture in Nagaland: Growing of colocassia, pumpkin, chilli.

 

• Alder agriculture in Sikkim: Large cardamom.

 

• Intercropping/mixed cropping In Arunachal Pradesh: Rice + Cucurbits or Rice + Banana or Maize + French bean.

 

• Temperate Horticulture in Sikkim: Apple + Potato/Radish/Cabbage.

 

•Mid hill Horticulture in Sikkim; Mandarin + Ginger + Sweet potato.

 

• Contour trench farming in Mizoram: Pineapple planting

 

5 Organic Farming in North East Region

Priority Crops:

 

• Pineapple (Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura)

• Passion fruit (Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, Sikkim)

• Kiwi (Sikkim, Arunachal)

• Apple (Arunachal, Sikkim)

• Orange (Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Arunachal)

• Radish (Meghalaya)

• Ginger (Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland)

• Turmeric (Meghalaya, Assam, Mizoram)

• Large cardamom (Arunachal, Sikkim)

• Potato (A.P., Meghalaya)

• Colocasia (Assam, Meghalaya)

• Orchid (Sikkim, Arunachal)

• Gladiolus (Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland)

• Blackpepper,Arecanut (Assam, Tripura)

 

North Eastern States where fertilizer consumption is less than 25 kg/yr are suitable for organic farming. The region is rich in biodiversity and blessed with gene centers for citrus, banana, cucumber, brinjal, 3,000 numbers of indigenous crop germplasms; 900 species of orchid, 9 genera of medicinal plants and five genera of aromatic plants (Munda et al., 2007).

 

North East States are selected because the land is almost virgin and the crops are virtually organic. The use of inorganic fertilizers and chemicals is meagre in the region. All the households are maintaining livestocks producing sufficient quantities of on-farm manures (Munda et al., 2007). The region is receiving very high rainfall leads to production of biomass including weeds, shrubs, and herb which could be efficiently used in organic production (Munda et al., 2007). The region has the potential of about 47 mt of organic manure including 37 mt from animal excreta and 9 million tons from crop residues. The region is home to some niche crops like Assam lemon, Joha rice, medicinal plants and passion fruits (Munda et al., 2007). NE region accounts for 45% of total pineapple production in India. Sikkim is the largest producer of large cardamom in the world. NE region is the fourth largest producer of oranges in India. Extent of chemical consumption in farming is less than the national average. Besides, eighteen lakh ha of land in NE region can be classified as ‘Organic by Default’ (Munda et al., 2007). In January, 2016, Sikkim has been declared as “First Organic State of India”. The experimental results under organic cultivation in NE region are given in Table 12.

 

Table 12 Experimental results under organic cultivation in NE region (Munda et al., 2007)

 

6 Conclusion

There is tremendous potential to substitute organic fertilizers through organics mainly crop residues, green loppings, green manures, organic manures, oil cakes, bio-fertilizers, crop rotations, animal excreta etc. The existence of traditional knowledge and farming systems have strong linkage between agriculture, livestock and others which can provide better livelihood security to farm families. Varied agro-climatic conditions and longer growing periods are prevailing in India to meet the offseason growing demands of export and the domestic markets of major horticultural crops. In India, Uttaranchal, North-East States, Chhatishgarh have taken initiatives for promoting organic farming.

 

The nutrient management, pest and disease management practices to sustain the yield levels during conversion period and standardization of package of practices for organic production may be limited. Small holdings and diversified farming situations need greater on-farm and farmers participatory technology development to get sustained gain in production. As profitability, environment and social relations need to be continually monitored to improve the system, creating a more sustainable horticulture require a closer relationship between horticultural research and producers. Rural resource based organic horticulture, keeping soil health, sustainability and productivity of agriculture as prime focus should be promoted. The key issues such as crop productivity, natural resources, bio-safety, environmental quality, pest and disease management, food quality, animal and human health and certification to be addressed.

 

Authors contributions

The author has handled Nationally Funded Projects like NATP on ‘Integrated Plant Nutrient System’ for Vegetable Production, Technology Mission on ‘Himalayan Mission for North Eastern Hill Region’, Mega Seed Project on flower crops and DUS Project on orchids. He has prepared DUS (Distinctiveness, Uniformity and Stability) Test Guidelines on Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Vanda, Cattleya, Phalaenopsis, Oncidium, Mokara and Paphiopedilum orchids, identified hybrids of Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Vanda, Phalaenopsis, Cattleya, Mokara, Oncidium and Aranda suitable for commercial cultivation for tropical and subtropical and temperate regions, standardized potting mixtures for commercial cultivation of Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Vanda, Phalaenopsis, Oncidium and Cattleya, organic nutrient management in orchids, developed protocols on post-harvest technology of Cymbidium and Dendrobium orchids, drying techniques in orchid species and hybrids and packaging techniques of orchid spikes and florets.

 

Acknowledgments

The authors are thankful to the Director, ICAR-NRC for Orchids, Pakyong, Sikkim, India for kind permission to carry out the research work and for providing the facilities during the period.

 

References

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Bhattacharya P., 2004, Organic food Production in India, Agrobios India, Behind Nasrani Cinema, Chopasani Road, Jodhpur

 

Chakraborty M., Dutta M., De L.C., Mitra S., Dhiman K.R., and Singh N.P., 2006, Effect of organic sources on vegetable productivity with special reference to soil organic carbon, mineralization, nutrient availability and uptake in Tripura, In: Horticulture for Sustainable Income and Environmental Protection (Advances in Vegetables, Spices, Plantation crops and Medicinal and Aromatic plants), pp.501-509, Concept Publishing Co. New Delhi-59

 

De L.C, 2013, ‘Nursery and Landscaping’, Published by Pointer Publisher, Jaipur, Rajasthan (ISBN: 978-81-7132-731-7), pp.248

 

De L.C., 2014, ‘Production of Seed and Planting Materials of Horticultural Crops’, published by Aavishkar Publishers & Distributors, Jaipur, Rajasthan (ISBN: 978-81-7910-473-6), pp.372

 

De L.C., 2017, Citrus rejuvenation in NE region of India, International Journal of Agrucultural Science and Research, 7(2): 325-342

 

De L.C., 2017, Horticulture scenario in NE Region of India, International Journal of Agrucultural Science and Research, 7(2): 243-254

 

De L.C., 2017, Integrated Horticulture Production Systems for NE Regions of India, International Journal of Current Research, 9(3): 47281-47288

 

De L.C., 2017, Valuable indigenous fruit crops of North Eastern region of India, International Journal of Research in Applied, Natural and Social Sciences, 5(3): 21-42

 

De L.C., and Bhattacharjee S.K., 2008, ‘Hand Book of Edible Fruits’, Published by Aavishkar Publishers & Distributors, Jaipur, Rajasthan (ISBN: 978-81-7910-262-6), pp.510

 

De L.C., and Bhattacharjee S.K., 2010, ‘Handbook of Vegetable Crops’, Published by Pointer Publisher, Jaipur, Rajasthan (ISBN: 978-81-7132-667-9), pp.508

 

De L.C., and Sarangi S.K., 2006, ITK used in organic agriculture, pp.423-438, In: ‘Trends in Organic Farming in India’, Purohit S.S., and Gehlot D. (Eds), pp.438, AGROBIOS (INDIA), Agro House, Behind Nasrani Cinema, Chopsani Road, Jodhpur-342 002

 

De L.C., Sanwal S.K., Akath S., Babu K.D., Kumar R., and Yadav R.K., 2007, Organic Input Management in Important Horticultural crops of NEH Region, In: ‘Advances in Organic Farming Technology in India’ (eds.) (Munda G.C., Ghosh P.K., Das A., Ngachan S.V., and Bujarbaruah K.M.), Published by the Director, ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Umiam-793103, Meghalaya, pp.585

 

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Munda G.C., Ghosh P.K., Das A., Ngachan S.V., and Bujarbaruah K.M., 2007, Advances in Organic Farming Technology in India, Director, ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Umiam-793103, Meghalaya, pp.585

 

Purohit S.S., and Gehlot D., 2006, In: ‘Trends in Organic Farming’, Agrobios India, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, pp.438

 

Sarangi S.K., and De L.C., 2006, Cultivation practices of organic turmeric and ginger in NEH Region, pp.380-395, In: ‘Trends in organic farming in India’, Purohit S.S., and Gehlot D. (Eds), pp.438, AGROBIOS (INDIA), Agro House, Behind Nasrani Cinema, Chopsani Road, Jodhpur-342 002

 

Saxena M., and Gandhi P.C., 2014, Indian Horticulture Database, National Horticulture Board, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, pp.302

 

Sharma A.K., 2004, A Handbook of Organic Farming, Agrobios India, Behind Nasrani Cinema, Chopasani Road, Jodhpur

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