INDIA: IIHR in the process of developing elite mango variety

If mango is the king of fruits, the Alphonso variety is the king among mangoes due to its taste, attractive colour and moderate size. However, horticultural scientists are in the process of developing another elite mango variety, which is said to be superior to Alphonso.


What is a matter of pride for the State as well as the Garden City of Bengaluru is that the research is taking place in the Hessarghatta-based Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR).



Dr. M. Shankaran, principal scientist in IIHR’s Fruit Crops Division, told The Hindu that the researchers are trying to get ‘red shoulders’ for the proposed elite variety from the Vanraj variety of mango. “The new variety is going to be an improvement on the Amrapali variety of mangoes by getting characteristics responsible for colour from the Vanraj variety,” he said. “The research has entered the fifth year,” he pointed out.


The new elite variety is expected to be preferred for exports, he said.


IIHR researchers are also working towards developing mango varieties that can be grown in saline soil. If successful, several non-mango regions of the country, particularly coastal areas, may see cultivation of the fruit, Dr. Shankaran said.


For this, the scientists have chosen root stocks from the natural varieties, which have resistance to salinity. These root stocks will be grafted with other improved varieties to get good quality fruits with resistance to salinity, he said. “Presently, such natural varieties do not have quality fruits while the varieties with quality fruits do not have resistance to salinity,” he noted.


Meanwhile, the three-day mango and jackfruit diversity fair began on Thursday at the IIHR campus in Hessarghatta with 350 varieties of mango and 150 varieties of jackfruits, including those grown by farmers, on display.


The varieties of mango on display include appe midi (used as pickles), table varieties and those preferred for juice. A dozen exotic varieties from various countries, including the US, too were on display.


The jackfruit collection had interesting variety in terms of taste, colour and size.


Custodian of genetic diversity

In a bid to encourage farmers to protect native varieties, the IIHR on Thursday nominated farmer Shankaraiah from Hulikatte of Gubbi taluk in Tumakuru district as custodian of an unique variety of jackfruit being grown by his family.


The jackfruit with copri red flakes is very sweet in taste and weighs around 3 kg. As per the agreement, IIHR scientists will take up multiplication of the variety and also sell them. Proceeds from the sale would be shared by the farmer and the institute.


This is the second such farmers’ variety to be identified by the IIHR under the custodian of genetic diversity scheme. Recently, another jackfruit variety titled ‘Siddu jackfruit’ from the same district had been chosen.


Cine personality-turned-environmentalist Suresh Heblikar inaugurated the three-day fair in the presence of environmentalist Yellappa Reddy and IIHR Director Dr. M.R. Dinesh and Additional Director of Horticulture Dr. Parashivamurthy.


A mango that weighs two kg

It was not just the variety, but also the variations in size, colour and shape that mesmerised visitors.


The fair displayed the biggest mangoes with each fruit weighing around 2 kg (Tenneru variety of Andhra Pradesh) and several small-size varieties whose fruits weighed just around 40 gm.


There was one variety from Andhra Pradesh titled ‘elephant head’, as it resembled the head of a pachyderm.


Source: BS Satish Kumar, The Hindu

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