Tamil Nadu

Two new varieties of cassava introduced

High expectations: Farmers in Gudamalai in Salem district with the Sree Athulya variety of cassava. Photo: Special Arrangement  

The ICAR-Central Tuber Crop Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram, has introduced two new disease-resistant and high-yielding varieties of cassava (Maravalli Kizhangu) in three villages of Tamil Nadu.

In Kolli Hills in Namakkal district, the institution has distributed the Sree Reksha sticks meant for planting since August-September is the season for planting in the hilly areas. These are more resistant to the yellow mosaic disease that leads to curling up of leaves and reduces the yield by about 20% to 80%.

“Farms in Kolli Hills seem to have a higher incidence of this disease, which is why this variety is being introduced there. The idea is to provide the planting material to a few farmers this year and then distribute it to more farmers next year from this crop,” said R. Muthuraj, principal scientist, seed technology, division of Crop Production at the Institute.

A team of scientists from ICAR-CTCRI, Thiruvananthapuram, including Mr. Muthuraj, K.M. Senthilkumar, scientist, biotechnology, division of Crop Improvement and P. Prakash, scientist, agricultural economics, extension, and social sciences, visited the villages and introduced the crop and their features to farmers.

Sree Athulya, which is a high yield variety, was distributed to farmers in Gudamalai in Salem district and Gandarvakottai in Pudukottai district.

“This variety gives a yield of 15-18 tonnes of cassava. The Thailand and the Muluvadi varieties of crop that are commonly used by farmers, give only around 10 to 12 tonnes an acre,” he added. Farmers in Salem had done their planting in February and their crop would be ready for harvest in November-December.

All these farmers were provided inputs, including fertilizers without any cost, under the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) programme. “Cassava harvested in Salem is used to produce javvarisi or saabudhana, which is then sent to north India. In Kerala, it is consumed as kappa along with fish,” he added.

The objective of the programme is to transform farmers into seed entrepreneurs to overcome the acute shortage of quality planting material for improved varieties of cassava.

Cassava has been globally recognised as a potential candidate for climate resilient crop due to its ability to grow under low management conditions with economical yield. Cassava has been identified as part of the Centre’s “One District One Product” initiative for Salem.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 9:15:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/two-new-varieties-of-cassava-introduced/article37033251.ece

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