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Friday, May 13, 2005

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Demand for virus-resistant tomato strains

Our Bureau

Coimbatore , May 12

THE escalating demand for the `cherry-red, oval-shape' tomato has drawn plant-breeders to strengthen research efforts and develop virus-resistant varieties.

Plant-breeders concede to the need to reorient their research efforts based on consumer/market preference, rather than look at new varietal release. Breeders apart, the demand has triggered the rate. It is quoting not less than Rs 18 a kg at present.

The Horticulture Director, Dr E. Vadivel, told Business Line that he had advised the tomato growers to raise this popular variety, rather than the round or country variety.

Tomato is grown in over 2.5 lakh hectares in Tamil Nadu.

The yield potential ranges between 30 and 40 tonnes per hectare for the country (desi) breed. Hybrid tomato yield is three-times more at 120 tonnes/ hectare. Almost 90 per cent of the vegetable produce is sold in Kerala.

Dr Vadivel said Kochi buyers had indicated a daily requirement of 4 loads (each load contains not less than 10 tonnes). At present, one load of tomato is being despatched to Kerala every day.The Horticulture Director does not foresee any problem in meeting the Kerala market requirement.

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