The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is planning to cultivate vegetables in the China border for the Indian Army as the troops are all set to spend winters there. DRDO is working on the plan with the use of technologies like passive greenhouse technology, zero energy-based technique storage, and microgreens. DRDO’s Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) is researching for the project.
DIHAR’s Director, Dr Om Prakash Chaurasia told the ANI that with the use of DRDO technology and hill council, all vegetables can be grown in the season of summer but their focus is to increase the availability of fresh vegetables in winters. There are two approaches to this project, one is to standardise the greenhouse technology. Leh has high intercity of solar even during peak winter period so they are working on a passive greenhouse.
They might be able to grow cauliflower, cabbage, and even tomato even in the month of January in which the temperature drops till -25 degrees. They have an underground greenhouse as well. Another approach to increase the availability of vegetables is to develop the storage of vegetables grown in summers through zero energy-based storage technology. Vegetables like Potato, cabbage, cauliflower, Raddish, carrot can be stored for 4-5 months. DISAR is also working to cultivate superfoods like Quinoa, seabuckthorn, chia seed and Goji Berries which are exclusively grown in Leh.
Chaurasia said that the oxygen level is low and under stressed condition in the region so they require foods which are very nutritious. They are cultivating a superfood which is a food which you consume less and it is more effective in terms of nutrition.
Dr Dorjee, a scientist in DIHAR said that the army is deployed in harsh conditions and there is no availability of soil on which vegetables can be grown. DIHAR will be able to provide microgreen plants to army jawan with the use of technology during his lunch or breakfast in those areas.”
Dorjee told that in order to grow these plants, they have to ensure that ingredients need to remain in a growing medium like coco peat for 10-15 days and after that these plants are ready for consumption. Around 20 vegetables can be grown in this medium and it is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.