Vegetables can make a significant difference to smallholder livelihoods. With minimum investment vegetable cultivation provides access to healthy and nutritious food under subsistence conditions.It also has the potential to provide an initial step towards establishing an income base for poorer households.Vegetable production provides economic, social and nutritional benefits and importantly can provide gender advantages.
Safe production of vegetables without using chemicals is gaining momentum worldwide. This is owing to increasing health awareness and concern on adverse effects of indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on food quality, soil health, human health and environment. Safe and non chemical vegetables can be produced by small farmers too. This could be at the household level as kitchen gardens or homestead gardens or could be at a commercial level resulting in certified organic produce. Whichever way it is produced, vegetable farming contributes significantly to livelihood diversification and sustainability.
Oflate we see a lot of educated youth getting into vegetable production. Besides being a significant part of periurban agriculture, vegetable cultivation has moved to urban areas and onto the rooftops. In the September 2020 issue of LEISA India we would like to share experiences of safe vegetable production. How are farmers growing vegetables with less resources? What organic inputs goes in the production process? How are farmers managing and marketing the produce before they perish? What value addition is being possible at farm gate or by external agencies? What are the price advantages across different markets for differently value added produce? Are there any organised institutions that help farmers in vegetable production and marketing? What is the role of women? What issues do vegetable farmers face, and how are they being addressed? What has been farmers experience in marketing vegetables during the pandemic situation?
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