Can you guess how much a single tomato plant will yield? Well, the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research’s (IIHR) Arka Rakshak variety of tomato has yielded 19 kg per plant. This is the yield level recorded by IIHR scientists at a farmer’s field under precision farming.

With this kind of yield, the new variety of Arka Rakshak (Arka stands for the river Arkavathi on whose banks the IIHR is located) has created waves in the sector.

“Clearly, this is the highest tomato yield the State has ever witnessed, and also this variety has turned out to be the State’s highest tomato-yielding variety as per scientific data,” says IIHR’s Principal Scientist and Head of the Division of Vegetable Crops A.T. Sadashiva.

According to him, the highest yield per plant by other hybrids is only 15 kg. Pointing out that Karnataka’s average tomato productivity was only 35 tonnes a hectare, Dr. Sadashiva notes that Arka Rakshak’s yield had touched a high of 190 tonnes in a farmer’s field.

Chandrappa, a farmer from Devasthanadahosalli of Chikkaballapur district, who has grown these varieties of tomatoes, has been able to get an yield of 38 tonnes from 2,000 plants on half an acre of land as against the level of 20 tonnes which he used to get from other hybrid varieties.

“I earned Rs. 2.75 lakh by selling the produce at a rate of Rs. 5 to Rs. 11 a kg from November 2012 to January 2013 after deducting expenses of about Rs. 80,000,” he says.

According to Dr. Sadashiva, these are not only high-yielding varieties but are also resistant to three diseases of tomato leaf curl virus, bacterial wilt and early blight. This helps in reducing the cost of cultivation by at least 10 per cent by way of savings on fungicides and pesticides, he notes.

Besides, these deep read fruits have other advantages as the firmness of fruits makes them suitable for long-distance transportation. Similarly, they have a shelf life of 15 days as against the 10 days of other hybrids and six days of the common varieties.