INDIA: Guava from mango belt back in business

Guava has managed to hold its own ground in Lucknow’s mango belt. Several new varieties have been developed and the near-extinct, indigenous varieties from the region are back in business. The reason being that varieties from Lucknow are fast gaining ground in Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and west UP. Farmers in Malihabad are growing these varieties not for the fruit but to sell guava grafts to other states. Hundreds of nurseries have come up in the area to meet the growing demand of guava grafts from across the country.


Arunachal Pradesh is the latest to have taken at least a lakh guava grafts from Malihabad in July this year. Since it is guava season at present, flowers and fruits could be seen on the grafts already.


“Guava is being preferred for cultivation in different parts of the country due to its hardy nature and ability to give higher profits with limited inputs,” said director, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture (CISH), Lucknow, Shailendra Rajan.


Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-CISH, Lucknow, has been instrumental in developing commercially viable varieties. Scientists at CISH have used hybridization and selection as a major tool for developing new varieties. Guava breeding aims at developing high-yield and high-quality varieties with fruits of uniform shape, good size, attractive colour of pulp and skin, high lycopene content, lesser and softer seeds and, at the same time, being suitable as a table variety and for processing purposes and having a wilt-resistant rootstock. That makes lab varieties Lalit, Shweta, Dhawal and Lalima are better than the ones growing naturally.


Notable breeding program for guava improvement started about 30 years ago at CISH. So far, the institute has developed about 2,100 guava hybrids and about 1,000 half-sib population of famous varieties like Apple Colour and Allahabad Safeda.


The institute’s commercial varieties like Lalit and Shweta are being cultivated commercially in wide range of agro-climatic conditions due to their high yield, good fruit quality, responsiveness to pruning and wider adaptability. Lalit has an attractive saffron yellow colour with red blush, pink pulp, good blend of sugar and acid. It is suitable for both table and processing purposes.


Shweta is an off-white fruit with pink blush, soft seeds and high yield. It is suitable as a rainy season crop and its area is extending to Punjab, Haryana and west UP.


Source: Times of India

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