Vicinity of Haryana to the National Capital Region (NCR) is ideally suited for the promotion of horticulture, especially for intensification of
peri-urban agriculture both for much needed diversification and increased income of farmers. We see ample scope for taking up protected cultivation
on large scale. The low-cost, medium-cost semi-automated or high-cost automated polyhouses can be used besides the plastic low tunnels or shade-net
houses. Hi-tech interventions like plastic mulch, micro-irrigation, fertigation, soilless culture, automation and intelligent computer programming
could also be integrated for desired efficiency of this system.For protected cultivation, the high-value low volume flower crops like rose, gerbera, chrysanthemum and carnation, vegetables such as tomato,
capsicum, cucumber, melons, brinjal and some leafy vegetables and fruit crops like strawberry have considerable scope. In addition, multiplication of
planting material, raising quality seed, seedlings, are other options. Protected structures are useful for combating biotic and abiotic stresses.
It has the scope for increasing income of small farmers due to much higher levels of productivity.
The major challenges for promoting protected cultivation are: lack of awareness, cost of structures and market linkages. Research has also to be
intensified to develop complete package of practices and on aspects such as structures, fertigation, development of varieties, suitable crop
sequences, low-cost fertilizer formulations, IPM and required automation. Also, mechanization for raised bed planting, plastic laying machines,
plastic low tunnel making and pipe bending machines for walk-in-tunnels, drip lateral laying and binding machines is urgently needed on custom hire
Foreseeing the importance, Ayog had constituted a Working Group on Development of Protected Cultivation in Haryana. The report of the Group has
brought out the State's strengths and weaknesses in this area of specialty agriculture, highlighting the need for developing trained manpower, high
yielding suitable varieties/hybrids, cluster approach, area and crop specific affordable protected structures, facilities and expertise for
maintenance of structures. The Group has suggested the establishment of School of Protected Cultivation at the State Agricultural University and a
diploma on maintenance of protected structures, micro-irrigation systems at each Industrial Training Institute. The Group also recommended ways and
means to achieve the goal of doubling current area under protected cultivation in the State. The report was officially released by the Hon'ble Chief
Minister Shri Bhupinder Singh Hooda on 10 January, 2013 and copies both in Hindi and English are posted on Ayog website www.haryanakisanayog.org.