Disease free plants to boost production of Kinnows

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Ludhiana, Jan 8 (UNI) To give a boost to diversification of Punjab agriculture, the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has stepped up its intiative of providing disease free Kinnow plants to growers in the state.

Fruits currently occupy an area of 30,976 hectare in Punjab with a production of 4.37 lakh tonne. Convenient and adequate availability of reliable, high-quality and disease-free nursery plants are an important requirement for promoting area under fruits.

Citrus fruits are the premier fruits in terms of area under cultivation and production trend in the state. Of the citrus fruits, Kinnow has a major commercial significance because of better economic prospective. Kinnow is cultivated in Punjab on 27,606 hectare with a production of 4.14 lakh tonne. The major Kinnow growing districts are Ferozepur, Mukatsar, Faridkot, Bathinda and Hoshiarpur.

The non-availability of disease-free Kinnow plants of desirable quality, is a major problem in Punjab and neighbouring states and PAU is assisting the growers in solving this problem. A beginning was made at PAU for establishing nursery for producing disease-free planting material of Kinnow in 1999 on scientific lines to cater to the needs of fruit growers of the region.

Giving details of the project, PAU's Head of the department of Horticulture, Dr Jasbir Singh Randhawa said the true-to-type and virus-free bud-wood was procured in January 1999 from mother block of Kinnow plantation at the Research and Experimental Centre, Lindcov, University of California, Riverside (USA). A block of 95 plants has been established in insect-proof screen houses as Foundation Block at the College Orchard of PAU.

According to Dr Randhawa these plants were looked after under intensive care for use in establishing Mother Block and that served as a source for commercial propagation of Kinnow plants. An interdisciplinary scientific team comprising of H S Dhaliwal, Senior Horticulturist; Ajeet Singh Sidhu, Assistant Horticulturist; D R Sharma Entomologist and V K Mehan, Plant Pathologist is involved in this Kinnow nursery production program, he added.

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