Bangalore’s famed tomato ‘Arka Rakshak’ to go global

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Farmers in seven countries want to cultivate high-yielding variety

It is not just Bangalore’s IT sector that has gone global. The city’s very own high-yielding tomato variety too is set to follow suit. Farmers and agriculture entrepreneurs in seven countries want to import the seeds of ‘Arka Rakshak’, the famed tomato variety developed by the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR).

Arka Rakshak, developed after a five-year research by a team of the IIHR scientists, is already creating waves in the country’s horticultural sector as farmers have got yields of up to 19 kg per plant from this variety.

“At present, we have received requests for seeds from farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs from Vietnam, the Netherlands, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the U.S. and Pakistan,” says IIHR’s Principal Scientist A.T. Sadashiva, who played a key role in developing this variety.

Following such requests, the IIHR has written to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) seeking its permission to act further. “The ICAR is likely to give its clearance any time. Once we get its permission, we will have to sign a memorandum of understanding with the foreign companies which want to buy our seeds before despatching,” Mr. Sadashiva said, while explaining the procedures involved.

According to Mr. Sadashiva, Arka Rakshak’s popularity is not just due to its high-yielding quality, but also owing to its resistance to three diseases of tomato: leaf curl virus, bacterial wilt and early blight. The resistance to triple diseases would reduce the cost of cultivation by 10 to 15 per cent in terms of savings towards the cost of fungicides and pesticides, he said.

These fruits are also ideal for long-distance transportation as they are firm and have a shelf life of 15 to 20 days as against 10 to 12 days of other hybrids, and six to eight days by ordinary varieties, he said.

Arka Rakshak represents the quintessential Bangalore character even in its name as Arka stands for the Arkavati on whose bed the IIHR is located.
(The Hindu)

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