Bitter gourd vegetables fetch a high price in the off-season and respond well if grown with drip irrigation. This crop is planted in December/January and harvested from May through to July/August. The growing period mainly falls in the driest period of the year and therefore requires irrigation.
In addition to water, the plants need fertiliser to ensure healthy growth and good production. Nitrogen is the most important macronutrient for plants and high crop productivity can only be achieved if sufficient nitrogen is available. Nitrogen is also the most limiting nutrient in most areas of Nepal’s midhills. Traditionally farmers applied farmyard manure; but in many places this is being supplemented or entirely replaced by inorganic fertiliser, mainly urea. However, fertiliser prices have increased substantially in recent years and this type of fertiliser is often not available in sufficient quantities in areas away from the roadheads. At the same time cultivation practices are intensifying with greater cropping intensities and more nutrient demanding crops as local varieties are replaced by hybrids and new crops are introduced. This can easily lead to nutrient mining and soil fertility decline unless there is an equivalent increase in inorganic or mineral fertilisation.
Wocat database reference: QT NEP24
Farmer's name: Iman Singh Basnet, Latikoili VDC, Ward 1 Location: Surkhet district, western midhills of Nepal
SWC measure: Management
Land use: Annual cropping on rainfed agricultural land
Climate: Humid subtropical
Related approach: Farmer-to-farmer diffusion (QA NEP1); Farmer-led experimentation (QA NEP3); Farmer field schools on integrated plant nutrient systems (QA NEP4)
Compiled by: SSMP
Date: 18 April 2007
dark green: previous working districts;
light green: districts in 2007