Okra is a potential vegetable crop. Okra is the hardest and high resistance crop against pests and diseases. If a farmer can sell its okra in the earlier stage in the market then higher income can be generated. Punjab climate came later than Sindh where farmers get the benefit of growing the okra with higher rates and earn more than Punjab area grower, but there are few things which I am going to discuss will be easy to understand that how a farmer in Punjab can also income by making effort. In this article, I will discuss each aspect of okra farming in Pakistan. There are following outlines under a whole topic will be discussed,
- Selection of variety
- Seed germination and seed rate
- Land preparation
- Plant protection
- Fertilizer and irrigation
Variety selection is very important, it is advisable and suggested that farmer or grower needs to explore more about his regarding the area that how the type of variety will perform well. It is suggested that the farmer or grower that select the hybrid variety if you want to generate more income early in the season. It is dependent upon the area like in Faisalabad “Sabzpari” performs very well. It is also suggested that do not only rely on the seed seller in the local market also collaborate with the agricultural department and get the recommendation because it is very important for the farmer to deals if he wants to start okra cultivation due to higher market demands for the first time.
Okra sowing time in Pakistan
It is another vital issue that may be faced by the farmer who is unaware that okra seeds need a specific environment condition for its germination. The seed germination ratio is higher in hybrid varieties than desi varieties, so in this way, the seed rate is half in hybrid variety than desi varieties. If the farmer is willing to prepare its crop early in the market then it is very important to create the germination environment. It can be sown in tunnels in January where its germination temperature favors otherwise in open cultivation it is sown in the last weeks of February when frost danger is gone. A seed required for an acre 5-6 kg of hybrid varieties whereas 10-12 kg for desi varieties. It is also a better strategy than some farmers put the polythene sheets when seeds are going to germinate and remove then after germination.
Note: it is suggested that while sowing seeds bury only one piece of seed in hybrid whereas in case of desi varieties choose 2-3 pieces in one hole.
Okra is the vegetable that is sown directly in the field without nursery preparation, so for that purpose, it is very necessary to make the soil pulverize for germination conditions. Those soil that has good drainage capacity like loamy or sandy loam soil are suitable. Land prepared with a bed to bed distance 1 ft and bed size should be 2 ft where on the edges of beds, it is up to the farmer whether sow the seeds within four lines or two lines with 5-6 inches plant to plant distance. It is suggested that keep the furrows a little deeper because okra is a deep-rooted plant and get the water even upper soil semi-wet condition seems to be empty.
In tunnel farming, fungus attacks are very common so it is very important that fungicide spray should be applied after a week. Air circulation is very necessary for the tunnel for maintaining the temperature. In the case of open farming, there are different pests and insects are very common, just like jassid, whitefly. So, it is suggested that insecticides spray should be applied at weekly intervals.
Fertilizer and irrigation
A good food and water plan lead to better fruiting for every crop. In okra, as usual, farmers willing for more fruit per plant, so for that purpose, it is necessary to keep the height at a moderate level so that internodal distance could be less and more fruit per node. It is suggested that apply less quantity of water with a small amount of nitrogenous fertilizer so that plant height could be maintained because the focus is fruit production. It is suggested that before fruiting farmers can use the urea and ammonium sulfate but plant start fruiting then use a very minute quantity and use the higher quantity of phosphorus and potash. Okra needs a moderate quantity of irrigation. It is suggested that keep water level lower in flood irrigation and keep looking on the crop foliage for water, its irrigation interval may change from 4-8 days according to the environmental situation.
Okra yield per acre in Pakistan
Harvesting of okra is a very hard and painful job due to the spiny type of pubescence on fruit that may injure the hands. It is very necessary that labor should be trained. It is suggested that harvest the okra of 1-2 inches of length and do not wait for a longer length, farmer should know that smaller length of okra fruit has a higher price while bigger size okra demanded less with lower price, so it is advisable that fruit picking should be done daily with smaller size. As it is a painful job, it is suggested that harvest early in the morning when the sun starts rising then it will be helpful for labor for harvesting, because at this time pubescence will be softer and hand injury will be negligible. Hybrid yield is more than desi varieties, it was mentioned by the farmer that at each picking more than 100 bags can be obtained of 4-5 kg and its price may vary from 400-500 rupees per bag.
- Okra is a profitable crop.
- It is suggested that select the hybrid variety for higher yield.
- Okra price per kg remains higher early in the season in the market.
- The germination rates are higher in hybrid than desi varieties.
- Okra is a deep-rooted plant and needs less water. Irrigation should be according to the demand.
- Do not let your plant taller, the internodal distance will be greater in that case and a smaller number of fruits per plant will be obtained.
- Keep a good plan for fertilizer and irrigation. In the early stage, it is advised that use the nitrogenous food while fruiting keep the amount lower for the nitrogenous fertilizer, and increase the phosphorus and potash amount for better fruiting.
- Jassid and whitefly attack is very common, so insecticides should be applied with a weekly interval.
- Harvest the fruit early in the morning for avoiding hand injury.
I hope this article was helpful, keep safe, keep commenting, and stay tuned!