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Virus plays havoc with 'papayas' in UP

Viral diseases and difficulty in differentiating the male and female breed have ruined the 'desi papaya' (carica papaya) crop in State.

india Updated: May 26, 2010 08:35 IST
Gaurav/HT Correspondent
Gaurav/HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Viral diseases and difficulty in differentiating the male and female breed have ruined the 'desi papaya' (carica papaya) crop in State.

As the result, people have to taste the papayas that are grown in states like Maharastra and Karnataka and farmers living in state have to incur revenue loss. Now scientists here have pull up their sleeves to get back the sweetness and large-scale production of carica papaya. Tissue culture technology will enable farmers to revive this sweet fruit in the state.

The age-old 'desi papaya' has been badly damaged by virus and the common disease has been discovered that has damaged the papaya crop badly in state is mosaic. "The irony is that virus enters the papaya plants at nursery stage therefore nothing much remains in farmers or scientists' hands," said scientists of CSA University.

"The carica papaya is of dioecious variety. In it both male and female plants are grown, fruits are borne by female plants. But it was observed that farmers couldn't differentiate the male and female papaya plants and virus caused the remaining damaged. Nevertheless, we have decided to focus on it again," said Dr HS Shukla, head of horticulture department at CSA University.

This variety of papaya was mostly grown in Uttar Pradesh but due to several reasons its' production decreased and now a days it has almost disappeared from the markets.

Scientists at Chandra Shekhar Azad (CSA) University of agriculture and technology are doing an exhaustive exercise to convince farmers so that they can either set up a tissue culture lab in villages.

"We are suggesting farmers to form a tissue culture lab jointly in three or four villages," said Dr Subhash Chandra while talking to Hindustan Times exclusively. He is associate director of extension at CSA University.

In entire state the total area where 'desi papaya' was grown has been reduced to half due to these two reasons. "Now we are convincing farmers that if setting up of small tissue culture lab at village level is not possible then collect the seeds from state tissue culture lab or from CSA or other agriculture university," said Dr Chandra.

If scientists are to be believed then by the time seeds from tissue culture technology are being made available for farmers they can save the plants by minor changes in plantation.

"Farmers must further the planting period of carica papaya. As of now they plant it during rains and virus spoils it. So plant it after monsoon to get fruits in large quantity," said Dr HS Shukla.

First Published: May 26, 2010 08:34 IST