''Real revolution'' in horticulture: ICR Deputy Director H P Singh

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Coimbatore, May 16 (UNI) Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Deputy Director General (DDG) H P Singh said with the Centre's focus on horticulture, ''a real revolution'' is occuring in the field of horticulture with an increase in production to about 180 mt.

Speaking at the recently concluded 15th group meeting of All India Coordinated Research Projects (AICRP) on 'Tropical Fruits' held in TNAU here, Dr Singh said that horticulture is the best option available for diversification of agriculture.

He said in recent years, horticultural sector had attracted the maximum investments and the sector had also experienced maximum output.

He said among the tropical fruits, demand for papaya has increased in the country due to availability of hybrid varieties.

Papaya which was once considered as taboo in Tamil Nadu has now become one of the sought after fruits in the state. This AICRP system paved way for developing and releasing papaya fruits of different size, colour and taste, giving plenty of choices for the consumers.

He indicated that this project would pave way for exchange of good varieties and implementation of technologies on tropical fruits, across the country thereby benefiting farmers and consumers.

The other thrust areas of research under AICRP would include developing good quality fruit varieties especially for dry lands, reduction in post harvest losses and increasing production and productivity with less water and restoration of vanishing traditional germplasm.

Speaking on the occasion, TNAU Director of Research, B Chandrasekaran said the major constraints facing tropical fruits production are poor quality planting material, unattendance of senile orchards, long gestation periods, high capital costs and labour scarcity. He urged the scientists to concentrate on the thrust areas namely, improving per tree productivity by supply of disease free planting materials, developing suitable machinery for harvest of fruits, shift in focus from commodity oriented research to system oriented research and identifying indigenous traditional knowledge (ITK).

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