Protected Vegetable Cultivation Technology for Cold Arid Agro-ecosystem of Ladakh
P. Ishfaq Akbar
M. Saleem Mir
Precision Farming Development Centre, High Mountain Arid Agriculture Research Institute (SKUAST-K), Leh, Ladakh, J&K 194101, India
International Journal of Horticulture, 2013, Vol. 3, No. 19 doi: 10.5376/ijh.2013.03.0019
Received: 09 Sep., 2013 Accepted: 13 Sep., 2013 Published: 16 Sep., 2013
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Ladakh region is a high altitude cold arid desert with special agro-climatic features. The region is one of the driest and coldest inhabited places on the earth. Due to harsh climatic features, short growing season is unable to offer sufficient food particularly vegetables. To supplement, fresh vegetables have to be imported by truck in summer or flown in by air during winter. The unavailability and high cost means that local people rarely eat fresh vegetables during the winter spell of the year, but instead rely on dried leafy vegetables and only stored root crops and cabbages. Specialized agricultural practices need to be developed and demonstrated for food and nutritional security of the inhabitants of the region. Protected cultivation is a well defined sustainable technology for off season food production and thereby an important component in attaining nutritional security. It offers scope for the cultivation of plants under adverse conditions. Various naturally ventilated zero energy polyhouses have been tried and tested for the region. Despite the sub-zero temperatures, the cloudless skies in Ladakh guaranty over 300 sunny days per year which is the highest in the world. Therefore, there is plenty of sunshine for crops to grow even in winter, provided that they can be prevented from freezing. Various agencies are engaged in the research and development of protected cultivation of vegetables particularly during freezing winters to augment fresh food supply to the inhabitants. The present circumstances and priorities in the region need to be expanded for furthering the technologies to achieve self sufficiency.
Agro-ecosystem; Vegetables; Ladakh
International Journal of Horticulture
• Volume 3