Introduction of a new variety by IARI turns an Uttar Pradesh hamlet into a ‘carrot village’

Introduction of a new variety by IARI turns an Uttar Pradesh hamlet into a ‘carrot village’

Introduction of a new variety by IARI turns an Uttar Pradesh hamlet into a ‘carrot village’

Our bureau

New Delhi, May 27:

Soodna village on the outskirts of Hapur district of western Uttar Pradesh is gradually being known as a ‘carrot village’ mainly attributed to cultivation of Pusa Rudhira, an improved carrot variety developed and introduced by Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), a premier institute under Ministry of Agriculture.

Soodna is one of the four villages adopted by IARI in the year 2010 for improving farm production and profitability in an integrated manner and to develop it into a ‘model’ village.

Conventional cropping pattern of wheat-rice-sugarcane-vegetables was prevalent in the village. Farmers of this village were growing carrot among many other vegetables. However, carrot cultivation was not much remunerative before the introduction of Pusa Rudhira variety.

Keeping in view the potential of carrot cultivation in the village, the IARI about three years back introduced the variety on a small area of 1.75 acre of a marginal farmer named Charan Singh.

Scientists from IARI provided periodic advisories for optimal use of farm inputs in the crop. The farmer could harvest a bumper crop of Pusa Rudhira yielding 393.75 quintal per hectare, which is about 10 quintal per hectare more than the prevailing variety.

The growing of new variety provided a net earning of Rs 2.64 lakh per hectare, which was 37% higher than that of local variety. Superior quality traits of the newly introduced variety led to 18% higher price in the local market, an IARI scientist said.

The new variety fetches a higher price of Rs 928 per quintal which was Rs 140 per quintal higher than prevalent variety, due to its attractive long and deep red roots, red coloured core, uniformity in shape and size and more sweetness.

During winters of 2012, 20 farmers requested the seed of Pusa Rudhira. Consequently, the variety spread to about 60% area (90 acres) under carrot cultivation in the village within a year of its introduction. Enthused with the profits from the new carrot variety, farmers adopted mechanized cleaning of carrots by procuring three cleaning machines on community sharing basis, which facilitated faster washing and also minimized damage to carrots.

Higher productivity of Pusa Rudhira coupled with premium price in the next season provided farmers with an impressive net income of Rs 2.22 lakh per hectare. The popularity of the carrot variety has spread to various markets in Delhi and surrounding regions. In rabi 2013-14  season, 120 acres (75%) of carrot area was under this variety in the Soodna village.

Subsequently, due to rising demand for new carrot variety, two marginal farmers – Kamal Singh and Jaibhagwan Saini, ventured to take up the seed production of the variety. The IARI scientists provided technical guidance and support.

IARI scientists say that Pusa Rudhira is also nutritionally rich as compared to other carrot varieties. The variety was tested to have higher levels of carotenoid and phenols. The primary benefit of these substances lies in their antioxidant property that guards against certain types of cancer, apparently by limiting the abnormal growth of cells. .

(source: ICAR website)