Citrusy Chakota gets push from BIAL, Horticulture Dept.

The Devanahalli Pomelo (chakota), which is almost on the brink of extinction, is set to be rejuvenated and conserved.  

Armed with its unique taste and flavour and a Geographical Indication tag, the Devanahalli Pomelo, the fruit popularly known as chakota, is set to get a push from various quarters.

The Horticulture Department plans to provide the plant to interested farmers in Devanahalli and Doddaballapur regions. Owing to urbanisation and change in landscape, the number of farmers growing the fruit has come down over the years. The fruit is localised in around 13 villages in Devanahalli taluk, eight villages of Sidlaghatta taluk, and seven villages of Doddaballapura taluk.

Joint director of the Horticulture Department, Krishnamurthy, said: “Farmers in these areas grow chakota on the border of their fields or near their homes. This has been the practice for years. After the fruit got the GI tag, farmers are coming forward to grow the plant. The department is using its farms in Chickballapur and Bengaluru Rural district to provide plants for cultivation.”

At Soppahalli farm in Chickballapur, the department will propagate 5,000 plants and provide them to farmers. Guru Kumar, a farmer, said: “Devanahalli is known for chakota. During summer, farmers used to sell it on Devanahalli main road and NH for ₹80 a piece. However, due to lockdown, the demand has come down.”

Bangalore International Airport Ltd. (BIAL), the operator of Kempegowda International Airport, too has taken measures to cultivate the fruit. In a release, BIAL said that under its CSR programme ‘Namma Ooru’, it will come up with an orchard of 500 chakota plants.

BIAL states that with support from the Horticulture Department, 50 plants have been planted on its campus that once was a hub for Pomelo before the construction of the airport. “This location will be developed as an organic Pomelo cultivation demonstration site, with signboards and literature for those interested in learning about the process,” the release said.

The release further states that BIAL intends to promote cultivation of the fruit around the region and create a viable market by collaborating with Indian Council of Agricultural Research and other institutions.

BIAL will also work with farmers in and around Devanahalli to preserve the fruit and promote cultivation by empowering self-help groups and sundertaking tree grafting.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 6:58:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/citrusy-chakota-gets-push-from-bial-horticulture-dept/article31418335.ece

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