In a day or two, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) will release less seeded kinnow variety, which, as per university experts, will be the first such variety in India.
To make this possible, the research that remained dotted with many field and lab experiments began in February 2007 by the university's department of horticulture and its principal investigator was HS Rattanpal, a senior horticulturalist.
Talking to Hindustan Times, he said that seedless or less seeded kinnow variety has huge demand in various pockets of Europe but after final release from PAU, kinnow growers in India will also get a chance to export their produce also in Europe and can get better rates. Secondly, it can help in processing of juice as seeds usually add bitterness while fruit is being crushed for making juice and most importantly, it will boost much needed diversification, he added.
“We used a scientific process called mutagenesis or mutation breeding which also involved radiation and various other scientific processes which we would disclose on the day of final release. We kept these plants in controlled environment with regular tests and till now they were kept caged so that no one should disturb the process and research,” said Rattanpal.
Adding further, he said, “Farmers who will grow this variety will note that it will have good demand not only for export to Europe but also by juice and soft drink making firms. Fruit market may also offer better rates. As of now, kinnow growers are popular in Abohar, Hoshiarpur and Muktsar but with rising demand, many other farmers may also take interest.”
As per senior economist MS Sidhu, kinnow is a part of Punjab government's diversification plan and about five years ago, the government had also set up two fruit processing plants in Abohar and Hoshiarpur. “Kinnow is the main fruit of the state and is semi perishable. With release of less seeded variety, interest of farmers towards kinnow due to better rates will also rise.”
According to the PAU data, the total area of kinnow cultivation in Punjab in 2013-14 was 47,101 hectare. The production was 10.18 lakh tonnes and the yield was 21,607 kilos per hectare .