There is a market in neighboring countries for Nepal’s vegetable crops, especially those grown in the off season, when Nepal’s cooler temperatures can be offset by using high tunnels and plastic houses. But soilborne diseases and weeds are bigger challenges when cultivation periods are thus extended.
The successful countering of these challenges is documented in the recent dissertation of CFAES Wooster’s Ram Khadka, advised by Distinguished Professor of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences in Plant Pathology Sally A. Miller. Anaerobic soil disinfestation is the relatively new process they employed, amending the soil with organic matter, then flooding and covering the soil to promote conditions that are toxic to multiple pathogens and weeds, allowing eggplant, okra, mustard greens and other regionally popular vegetables to thrive.
Aside from the obvious nutritional and economic benefits for farming families, the reduced time spent with the tedious drudgery of weeding relieves the women and children most involved. This thanks to the resources of CFAES and funding from USAID’s Feed the Future initiative. Khadka plans to resume his work at the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC).
Dr. Sally A. Miller, Advisor
Dr. Pierce A. Paul
Dr. John Cardina
Dr. Steven W. Culman
Dr. Jonathan M. Jacobs