BENGALURU: New hybrids of fruits, vegetables and flowers and state-of-the-art technology were part of the the National Horticulture Fair, organised by the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) on Wednesday. Over 10,000 farmers, stakeholders and enthusiasts visited the fair.Arka Rakshak, a disease-resistant tomato hybrid, developed by Dr H.C. Prasanna, Prinicipal Scientist, Genetics, is the first triple-disease resistant tomato F1 hybrid in the country.
Tomatoes are normally prone to Tomato Leaf Curl Virus (ToLCV), Bacterial Wilt (BW) and Early Blight (EB). “These diseases force farmers to quit tomato farming. It was developed by crossing an advanced breeding line from IIHR with another breeding line from the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre (AVRDC), Taiwan. This variety yields about 140 tonnes per hectare and stays firm for up to 20 days,” said Prasanna.
Arka Poorna, a high-yielding guava hybrid was developed by C. Vasugi, Principal Scientist from the Fruit Crops Division. “It is a progeny selection of the cross Purple local X and Allahabad Safeda (one of the largest guavas in the country). This guava has less seeds and thick pulp. It is suitable for both table and processing,” she said.
Different brinjal genotypes were tried as rootstock for Arka Rakshak and it was found that Arka Neelkant variety of brinjal is efficient and suitable to combat flooding in tomato. The other invention is with African marigold, which is very popular among farmers in the country. But the problem is that farmers have to buy seeds every time they want to grow. To avoid this, hybrids like Arka Agni, Arka Bangara-2 and Arka Bangara have been developed. “In these varieties, farmers can just use the cuttings of the plants to get the same produce. They don’t have to keep investing on seeds. Flowering starts from 40-45 days and continues for 60 days. The yield potential is between 8 and 10 tonnes per acre,” said Dr Tejasvini Prakash, Principal Scientist.
IIHR has launched an online portal for selling seeds developed by the institute. A mobile app, Arka Bagwani will help farmers get information on new technology, seeds, planting schedules.Dayanand P., a technical officer with the IIHR division of post-harvest technical and agricultural engineering, has developed an automatci motor-based tricycle to help vendors. It costs Rs 70,000 and is yet to be commercialised,” he said.