Thursday, July 28, 2016

Agriculture Scientist finds solution for papaya ringspot virus

Here comes the good news for papaya growers. Finally a problem that that had been plaguing Papaya cultivators has been tackled. The farmers who were fed up with the ringspot virus that affected the crop now can look forward to harvesting good fruits.

The efforts of KK Subramani, an Agriculture Scientist and an advisor in Department of Agriculture for GoI, who was involved in research on Papaya for the past seven years, to find a solution to the virus that afflicted the papaya plant has finally yielded fruits. 

Being an expert on genetics he has changed the character of the plants and has made the plants resistant to the disease and also made them grow healthier. To undertake experiments on a big scale in fields, he has distributed papaya seeds to farmers.  

After visiting several countries like Hawai, Japan, South Africa, Australia, Brazil and collecting Papaya seeds from there he worked out a solution on his own. Over the past seven years of his continuous research he has not only found a cure to make papaya plants rid of all diseases, but also enhanced the sweetness of the fruits, the inner colour and hardness. Another major breakthrough of his invention is that even after harvesting the crop it can be stored for 15 days naturally retaining the freshness.  Being an expert on genetics he has changed the character of the plants to increase the resistance of the plants.  

He says, around 1200 saplings can be planted in an acre of land, and a farmer can harvest nearly 80 to 100 tonnes in a span of two years. The papaya starts bearing fruit within a span of one year. In first year one plant gives 60 kg of fruits, while in second year 40 kg. Chamarajanagar Horticulture Deputy Director Nagaraj said that at present around an average of 35-40 tonne of fruits can be produced in an acre of land in a span of three years, and added farmers are badly affected with the ringspot virus the yield has come down. 

Agriculture Scientists Subramani displaying papaya infected with ringspot virus, and a healthy papaya plant grown under insect proof net at his agriculture land located at Bommuru Agrahara, Srirangapatna, Mandya district. 

“Papaya is not native of India. The farmers in country are importing seeds from a Taiwan based company. Over the past decade papaya growers were burning their fingers because of the Ring Spot virus which destroyed the crop. With severe drop in yield, farmers were helpless. Thus I decided to do research on Papaya. I found the technique where virus can be checked and farmers will get good yields. My research of seven years has borne fruit,” adds Subramani.

'There is a good demand for papaya because of the immense health benefits it has and papaya growers can have a good business if the virus attack is prevented. By cultivating the plants inside a simple insect proof net is the simple remedy to check the attack of virus, as the white flies which carries the virus cannot attack the plants. For an acre of land the net cost is around Rs 4 lakh and the the government provides huge subsidy for the crop, which motivates farmers to take up cultivation,' he added.

He has cultivated a special two acres of land just to give demo to the farmers. Here papaya plants afflicted with the virus attack are grown on one half while the other half contains the healthy plants protected by the net yielding good fruits. He wants to motivate farmers to once take up papaya cultivation, as huge subsidy is provided for women farmers by the government of India. He is also planning to take a patent for papaya seeds after getting feed back from the farmers.

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