Vertical gardening maximizes returns for Pakistan’s bottle gourd farmers
“Using nets and amending planting geometry has enhanced the quality of our fruit.”
The use of nets and vertical structures to support bottle gourd is helping farmers of D.I. Khan, Pakistan harvest better quality fruit, which fetches higher prices in markets.
Low yield of local varieties coupled with poor quality fruit marred cucurbit culture in the region for years. To improve farmers’ livelihoods and the enhance the sustainability of local agriculture, AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center introduced vertical gardening methods with the support of the Agriculture Innovation Program (AIP) in collaboration with Pakistan’s Agriculture Research Institute (S) D.I. Khan.
Field demonstrations were carried out and farmers received seed of two bottle gourd hybrids (Long and Super hybrid F1), nets, and technical assistance on improving planting geometry. After successful germination of the bottle gourd hybrids, vertical nets were installed on bamboo stakes and the crop was trained to grow up the nets. Farmers using the vertical method have reported improved fruit quality and yield.
Malik Ramzan, a farmer from Hissam village, noted that pest infestations were less severe after he began using vertical structures.
“Using nets and amending planting geometry has enhanced the quality of our fruit,” said Fayyaz Hussain, a farmer from Baloachabad. “Continuous efforts along this line will upgrade the socioeconomic status of the farming community in the region, as the quality fruit is fetching higher prices in the market.”