Fifteen new crop varieties developed by Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) are ready for release.

Formal clearance

Two varieties each of paddy, coconut, pepper, tomato and Asoka, one each of snake gourd, chilli, fodder pea, rice bean and ginger are awaiting formal clearance of the State Committee on Variety Release.

“The KAU has developed 271 varieties of different crops. They include 111 varieties of paddy, five varieties of coconut, 16 of cashew, 70-odd varieties of different vegetables, 10 of cocoa, seven of sesame and more of crops such as tubers, spices and cereals. The total number of crops developed will soon go up to 286,” said P. Rajendran, KAU Vice-Chancellor.

The KAU, he stated, had developed varieties suited for different agro climatic zones and soil types.

“For example Ezhome varieties of paddy is meant for Kaippad tracts of North Malabar whereas Vaisakh is suitable for upland cultivation and Prathyasa is for Kuttanad fields,” he said.

Tests completed

KAU Director of Research T.R. Gopalakrishnan said the KAU Variety Evaluation Committee had completed tests and forwarded its report to the State Seed subcommittee in August 2012. He said the new varieties had special features.

“The new pepper variety, Panniyur 8, for example, is tolerant to drought and quick wilt disease, while Vijay, developed by the Department of Plantation Crops of the College of Horticulture, has high yield and large berries. Manulakshmy, a variety of tomato, developed at Agricultural Research Station, Mannuthy, has large fruits and is resistant to bacterial wilt. Ezhome 3, the new paddy variety, is a saline-tolerant high yielding red rice suitable for Kaippad tracts, while Jaiva is a high-yielding photo insensitive medium-duration white rice. Keramadhura is a green dwarf coconut variety good for tender nuts and Kerasulabha is a high yielding variety with 67 per cent oil content,” he said.

V.S. Devadas, Associate Director in charge of seed production, said the seeds and planting materials of these varieties would be made available to farmers after the State Seed Sub-Committee cleared the release.