Malaysian Rambutan becomes potential fruit for Northeast: IIHR

Agency News

Agartala, Dec 7: Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to build northeast as green economic hub, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) advised the state governments to start cultivation of popular Malaysian horticulture crop Rambutan along with passion fruit, banana and pineapple.

Talking to UNI, IIHR head of fruit crops Dr Reju M Kurian said that because of climatic condition and soil northeast has best potential for cultivation of highly nutritious and popular fruit of South Asian countries Rambutan. The state like Tripura has given highest priority in horticultural production for boosting rural economy and pineapple is targeted now.

Of course traditionally, northeast produces different verities of banana, which is used as common fruit supplement and now Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Assam have given importance to pineapple cultivation, he said adding that passion fruits also has tremendous potential in the region but unfortunately it is yet to get the space in production.

“We have been with dialogue with the state governments of the region about our findings to boost horticultural production and advised the respective states to consider cultivation of Rambutan and passion fruit besides, other horticulture crops,” Dr Kurian said.

He further stated that Tripura government has started exporting pineapple to Middle East countries, which evoked the need of development of packaging service. The IIHR is trying to facilitate Tripura government for packaging and transporting the horticultural produces.

“We are going to establish a modern processing centre under skill development considering the abundance of pineapple and jackfruits in Tripura. The proposal has already been sent to the state government and negotiation is going on. We have already identified the entrepreneurs for setting up of a small processing centre at the estimated cost of Rs 45 lakh,” he pointed out.

Referring to production of hybrid verity tomato - Arka Rakshak, the scientists of IIHR said that Vanlal Muana, a farmer of Champai district of Southern Mizoram has appeared as model for entire region in cultivation of the tomato verity. The yield of Arka Rakshak in Vanlal’s field has increased to about 40 MT per hector of land, which he is supplied to major parts of Mizoram.

“The shelf life of the tomato verity has increased more than double, which evoked immense interest of cultivation among the farmers of Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya. The seed supply of the verity has shot up in manifold. Not only in vegetable or fruit, IIHR has been promoting floriculture, mushroom cultivation, introducing need specific agricultural tools and appliances for North-eastern states,” said Dr Kurian.

In order to rejuvenate orange production in Jumpai hill of North Tripura, he opined that most of citrus fruit production in northeast has been affected due to non-availability of quality planting materials. “So far we know the steps have been taken by which after next five years citrus fruits production including orange will reach at desirable level,” he added. (UNI)