Agri Business

IIHR develops chilli hybrids resistant to leaf curl virus

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on February 07, 2021

Chilli is a major commercial cash crop grown by farmers and the production of both green and red varieties is on the rise

To commercialise five hybrids in kharif 2021 season

After carrying out research for almost a decade, scientists at the ICAR- Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR), Bengaluru have developed chilli hybrids that are resistant to the leaf curl virus (LCV) disease, a major problem for the growers across the country.

Leaf curl virus disease is the most destructive disease face by chilli growers in terms of incidence and yield loss. The LCV transmitted by the whiteflies and in the affected plants causes the leaf to get curled and rolled resulting in stunted growth.

“LCV is a major disease faced by the chilli growers, where crop damage can be as high as 90 per cent in the affected fields. We are releasing five LCV resistant chilli hybrids for commercial cultivation in the forthcoming kharif cropping season of 2021,” said IIHR Director, MR Dinesh.

First in the country

“We have developed about 55 hybrids through the conventional breeding method after screening the germ plasm from different locations. Of these five hybrids have shown promise and have been consistently showing resistance to the LCV and are being commercialised now,” said Madhavi Reddy K, Head, Division of Vegetable Crops at IIHR Bengaluru, who leads a team of scientists in developing the LCV-resistant chilli hybrids for the first time in the country.

The private seed sector, including multinational companies, are showing interest in the IIHR hybrids, said Reddy.

The chilli seed market is estimated at over 150 tonnes per annum. Of this, the hybrid seed market is around 100 tonnes and the open pollinated variety is about 50 tonnes, Reddy said. The value of the chilli seed market is estimated to be around ₹400 crore.

Reddy said that the IIHR has proposed a project to transfer the technology into the popular Byadgi chilli variety, which is known for its colour and low pungency. “We have approached the Karnataka Horticulture Department to transfer this technology to the Byadgi chilli variety and are awaiting their response,” Reddy said.

Chilli is a major commercial cash crop grown by farmers and the production of both green and red varieties are on the rise. India’s green chilli production stood at 38.51 lakh tonnes during 2019-20 according to the second advance estimates. This is higher than the previous year’s output of 37.83 lakh tonnes.

Green chilli acreage stood at 3.64 lakh ha during 2019-20, down from 3.77 lakh ha in the previous year. The production of red or dried chillies was estimated at 17.02 lakh tonnes during 2019-20, marginally lower than the previous year’s 17.43 lakh tonnes.

Total exports

India’s chilli exports in value terms stood at ₹4,840 crore during 2019-20, an increase 3.3 per cent over the previous year’s ₹4,685 crore. In volume terms, chilli exports were estimated at 6.22 lakh tonnes over previous year’s 5.41 lakh tonnes. Since 2015-16, chilli exports have risen by 40 per cent value and 56 per cent in volumes.

Published on February 07, 2021

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