Snowpeas: A promising exotic vegetable for mid and high hills of Himachal

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Trials by Krishi Vigyan Kendra Shimla on snow peas fetches handsome returns

Nauni/Solan: In recent times, there has been a shift in consumer demand which has also affected the horticulture sector. One such shift is the increasing demand for exotic vegetables in metropolitan cities and tourist hotspots of the country. The agricultural scientists have duly recognized the corresponding shift in the horticultural cropping pattern and need to diversify and efforts have been ongoing in this direction.

One such proactive initiative launched by Krishi Vigyan Kendra Shimla has borne fruit with encouraging results for the farmer and scientists. For the past three years, the scientists of the station have worked on introducing and promoting the cultivation of various exotic vegetables in the district. Exotic vegetables like snowpeas, lettuce, pok choi, kale, courgettes, cherry tomatoes and seedless cucumbers have been introduced and trials at farmer’s fields have been ongoing. The KVK functions under the management of Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni.

Dr Ashok Thakur, Vegetable Scientist at Krishi Vigyan Kendra Rohru is conducting trials at different elevations in various seasons for selection of suitable production area and planting season of these vegetables. He told that among the several diversification initiatives, the off-season cultivation of snow peas has been successfully demonstrated at one farmer’s field and the results have been highly encouraging.

The trials conducted in the field of Rakesh Dulta, an innovative farmer of Village Sheel, Tehsil Rohru has obtained productivity of about seven quintals per bigha for snowpeas cultivar Mithi Phali. The market returns of this high-quality produce fetched between Rs 200-300 per kg at Azadpur Vegetable Market, New Delhi. Enthusiastic with the results of the trials, Dulta is now encouraging fellow farmers for adopting commercial cultivation of snow peas and other exotic vegetables in the region.

Elaborating the Snowpea cultivation, Dr Thakur stated

“Snowpea is valued for its edible pods having various nutraceutical values and are highly cherished as a salad. Lack of parchment layer on the inner wall of pods makes it fit for raw consumption. However, the pods can be cooked as well. Snowpeas are a good source of vitamins A, B6 and C. Besides they are an excellent source of dietary fibre and also contain folate and minerals such as potassium,”

He said that there are plenty of exotic vegetates that can be successfully grown in mid and high hills and can be a promising intervention for enhancing farmers’ income. These crops are best suited for intercropping with apple and other fruit crops. Dr NS Kaith, In-charge, Krishi Vigyan Kendra Shimla opined that the diversification of apple growing regions with short duration high-value cash crops can become a boon to the economy of the hill state.