(Mujahid Ali1, Dr. C.M. Ayyub1, Naheed Akhtar2)
(1Horticulture, UAF; 2Horticulture, DG Khan)
We have all kind of progressive growers in cucumber (Cucumis sativus) production in both open fields and tunnels. But our per acre yield is too low. Despite the fact that we have a large area for its production. We are unable to export, sometime even its price goes beyond the reach of common people. Moreover, we have year-round production due to tunnel farming system. Regardless of various resources in our country, we have the following major problems in the production of cucumber in Pakistan.
A seed has prime importance in cucumber production. Without quality seed, a farmer can’t get a good yield. It is our dilemma that we could not introduce new varieties so there is just one dominant indigenous variety that is called “Desi-cucumber”. This variety is somehow resistant to heat stress and other stress, but its yield is low. In the tunnel, we are dependent on foreign hybrid seeds. So, we pay per seed price that is costly. Every season farmer purchases new seed. We should focus on its breeding to evolve high yielding varieties.
There are various diseases which affect our cucumber production like powdery mildew, downy mildew, bacterial wilt, anthracnose, angular leaf spot and some viral diseases like cucumber mosaic virus are destroying our crop. In tunnels, the fungal disease like downy or powdery mildew are dominant because of high humidity. So, in tunnels, frequent aeration is important simply by removing part of polythene during the daytime. So, our farmer pays huge on fungicides etc. Resistant varieties can solve this problem.
- Insect pest
Although we can control weeds by mulching, but insects are another problem. In a tunnel system, we can control to some extent. But in the open field, it is not possible. Some important insect pests are aphid, jasid, whitefly, beetles and thrips. These are most prominent in open fields. So, our farmer pays huge on insecticide/pesticides. Sometimes damage by it is so severe that the farmer gets nothing.
- Abiotic factors
The United States and Europe have a great focus on chilling injury, but we face mostly problem of heat stress in Pakistan in open fields. Other than heat stress there are certain main problems e.g. salt stress, waterlogging and drought. These are management issues we can manage. But in open fields, we cannot manage heat stress which destroys its quality and quantity. We have to focus these problems in research regarding cucumber production.