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The 'Made in India' version of high quality Israeli oranges will soon hit the Indian market. The Indo-Israel centre for excellence for citrus plants in Kota has developed breeds of high yielding Israeli oranges with more shelf life. Of the 24 orange varieties developed by the centre half of them are or of Israeli origin and are likely to hit Indian fields next year as test trials in closed and field conditions have shown good results.
Senior officers of Rajasthan's Directorate of Horticulture said half the 24 new varieties developed by the centre will soon be ready for mass plantation. The 'Made in India' version of Israeli oranges will not only yield twice the production of Nagpur oranges, but also have almost three times more shelf live than the Indian variety of oranges.
“We have developed these 24 varieties in the Indo-Israel centre of excellence in Kota. Most of them have already acclimatised to Indian conditions, and have shown good results in controlled conditions as well as in field conditions. Some of them have already been given to some progressive farmers who have indicated good results,” said Govind Srivastava, a senior officer of the Directorate of Horticulture.
If the Israeli varieties are planted successfully in the Kota region, the yield would go up drastically and so will its price as the shelf life of the product is more. “It would go to far-of places and fetch good price,” he said. The average yield of a Nagpur orange tree is 100 kg, whereas Israeli oranges give an average of 200 to 300 kg per tree in the same area. “At present, a farmer gets Rs 2 lakh from a one hectare Nagpur orange farm. In the same acreage, he would earn Rs 4 lakh or more if he plants these Israeli varieties,” Srivastava said.
The government is selling saplings of these trees for Rs 35 only. The production capacity in the Indo-Israel centre for excellence farm would also go up to two lakh saplings per year from the present 50,000 a year. Five years down the line the government has set a target of increasing orange acreage from 40,000 hectares to one lakh hectares, said principal secretary Rajasthan Agriculture Department Neelkamal Darbari.
The centre for excellence has been developed under the National Horticulture Mission and has been operational for the past two years. Farmers and horticulturists of the state are trained in latest varieties for citrus fruits. Besides saplings, the centre has also introduced state-of-the-art fruit grading machines, fruit processing unit, where any farmer can grade and process citrus plants at a reasonable price, Srivastava said.