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Development of protected cropping systems for out-of-season vegetable production in the Pacific Islands
journal contributionposted on 15.04.2020, 00:00 by Philip BrownPhilip Brown, Karli GrovesKarli Groves, E Jovicich
At present, vegetable production in the Pacific Islands does not match local demand, with vegetable imports supplying high value hospitality and food service markets. If this demand was met by local producers, income from high value vegetable production would improve the livelihoods of producers and their communities. Protected cropping for small- and medium-scale farmers is a potentially transformational and enabling technology for vegetable production systems in the Pacific Islands that could fill this import gap. Low cost protected cropping systems have the potential to deliver year round vegetable production. Data collected from a range of simple low-cost protective structures has shown that structure height, roof venting, roof covering release systems and choice of side mesh materials are critical design features, with appropriate design delivering both suitable conditions for vegetable production and longevity in a tropical environment. Agronomic trials identified irrigation, pest management and plant manipulation strategies appropriate for protected cropping systems, and demonstrated significant crop yield increases over field production. In addition to the need for more knowledge of the production system, the research demonstrated that production capability does not ensure market access. To increase and consolidate the income-generating capacity of smallholder vegetable growers through technological innovation (especially the development of protected cropping systems), enterprise development in market oriented value chains is also required. © 2019 International Society for Horticultural Science. All rights reserved.