Arka Rakshak's yields have been very good according to scientists
After five long years of painstaking research, scientists at the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) have developed a new hybrid tomato variety called 'Arka Rakshak', which has recorded yields of up to 19 kilos of tomatoes per plant.
"Arka Rakshak was cultivated by precision farming practices, which essentially consisted of drip irrigation, fertigation and black-silver polyethylene mulch. Water was supplied through drip irrigation on daily water loss basis. This hybrid is resistant to three different plant diseases including tomato leaf curl virus, bacterial wilt and early blight. It can be grown throughout the year in moderate climate areas. Its cost of cultivation is very low," said Sadashiva A T, principal scientist & head, division of vegetable crops, IIHR.
The drip irrigation method of cultivation consumes only about 50 percent of water compared to normal irrigational practices. The nutrients for these crops is supplied by dissolving the fertilizer in irrigation water (fertigation).
Dr Sadashiva said that, Mr Chandrappa, a farmer from Devasthanadahosalli near Chikkaballapur district had harvested close to 19 kilos of tomatoes per plant. "It took about six months for me to cultivate these tomatoes. I have been able to sell them off in the market without any hassles," said Mr Chandrappa.
Another principal scientist, Dr Shankara Hebbar, division of vegetable crops, IIHR, commented on the factors that led to this hybrid's successful cultivation. He said, "Fertigation ensured the complete solubility of fertilizers, making all the nutrients completely available for the plant. This prevented the plants from wilting. Thus, the crops were under less stress. The black-silver polythene mulch reduced the growth of weeds, prevented leaching of nutrients during rainfall, and maintained the friable nature of soil. Polyethylene mulch also helped in repelling the insects during early growth stage because of the reflection of sunlight, thus reducing the transmission of viral diseases."