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ICAR-IIHR develops virus-resistant chilli; release only to Vignana Kendras
Saturday, 13 February, 2021, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research)-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) has developed a virus-resistant chilli variety. The institute said that it would not release the variant directly in the market but would share it with the Krishi Vignana Kendras (KVKs) across the state and country to check the efficacy of the product.

Based on the results in the location-specific KVKs, the chilli seeds may be released in the market in that particular region.

"We have developed a chilli variety resistant to the leaf curl virus, which causes maximum damage to the chilli plants," said Dr K Madhavi Reddy, Principal Scientist, Division of Vegetable Crops, ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, at the sidelines of the ongoing National Horticulture Fair-2021 being held in the campus from February 8 to 12.
The virus-resistant chilli varieties have the potential to reduce the use of pesticides. The leaf curl virus was extracted from Raichur, where it was much prevalent. “India needs to develop chilli varieties or F1 (filial) hybrids having resistance to newly emerging diseases such as Chilli Leaf Curl Virus. Besides, focus on varieties suitable for different market segments,” she said.

“Even as many improved varieties are cultivated in India, there is still a strong need to develop a better selection. This includes high pungency and colour for industrial use,” stated Dr Reddy, while speaking to F&B News, in an earlier interaction.

“It is here ICAR-IIHR has been engaged in extensive research for chillies. These cover crop improvement, yield, fruit quality and resistance to biotic & abiotic stresses. Further in the area of crop production, there is considerable attention towards nutrient management and organic cultivation,” she added.

The varieties of chilly being researched at the institute are Arka Suphal, Arka Abhir, Arka Harita, Arka Meghana, Arka Khyati and Arka Sweta. “For improved varieties, we need to use quality seed & seedlings, besides adhere to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP),” she noted.

Chillies are prone to diseases and are highly susceptible to pests. The major pests are Thrips, Mites and Gall midge. Some of the major diseases are fungal which is a powdery mildew, ‘Phytophthora’ root rot, anthracnose fruit rot, Viral: CMV, ChiVMV, ChiLCV and GBNV.

Chilli crop is also impacted by the weather. It is mainly cultivated during Kharif season for dry chilli purpose. During Rabi and summer season, green chillies are cultivated. For the rain-fed cultivation, rainfall distribution plays a major role. There is also stress of heat during summer. However in winter the crop growth will be slow. During the cooler seasons there is a threat of Aphids as vectors transmit viruses like CMV and ChiVMV.
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