You may get to savour the famous ‘Kodagina Kittale’ (Kodagu orange) again. The State Horticulture Department has decided to revive the now-extinct variety.
“Our department is tying up with the Indian Institute of Horticultural Sciences (IIHS), Chettalli in Kodagu, to revive ‘Kodagina Kittale’. We are ready to pump in whatever funds required for the purpose,” said Horticulture Department Principal Secretary M K Shankarlinge Gowda.
A couple of decades ago, Kodagu was famous for its variety of orange known for its taste. Coffee planters used to grow the plants in the coffee estates. Over the years, it became extinct because of frequent pest attacks. Gowda said his department will take assistance from the IIHS to revive the citric fruit.
Chettalli farm has around 160 acres of land on which orange saplings will be raised. Once they are ready for transplantation, they will be distributed to farmers and estate owners. Scientists at IIHS will be requested to make those plants pest-resistant so that they will not vanish again. In fact, there is a group of agriculture graduates in Kodagu which is interested in the revival of the variety. “We will rope in their services to create awareness among the people to go for orange cultivation again,” Gowda said.
He said, during hey days orange was planted on more than 2,000 hectares in Kodagu district as the climate is well suited for growing this citric fruit. But now it vanished from coffee estates.
Although Kodagina Kittale cannot compete with the orange of Nagpur, still it has its own place.
No Dearthof Funds
Gowda said plenty of funds are available under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna and Competitive Horticulture Programme for promotion of horticulture crops in the state. Around `240 crore is now available with the department and it can spend this money at its discretion.
“My aim is to revive all rare fruits, flowers and vegetables for which Karnataka is known, at least for the future generation,” he said.
A Nanaiah, a resident of Kodagu, said loads of oranges were harvested and sent to neighbouring states but the pests pushed this rare variety of orange to extinct. “As children, we used to eat this orange but now we miss it,” he laments.