To enrich the knowledge of farmers on scientific cultivation and to demonstrate the technologies of Avocado and Spine Gourd, a One Day Workshop-cum-Field day on Avocado Cv. Arka Supreme and Spine gourd Cv. Arka Bharath was organized at Central Horticultural Experiment Station (ICAR-IIHR) on 2nd July, 2022. Dr. Debi Sharma, Director, ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru, inaugurated the exhibition, wherein more than 80 and 30 different types of Avocado and Spine gourd genotypes/varieties, respectively were displayed to exhibit crop genetic diversity for quality and yield potential. Infected plant and fruit samples were also displayed to demonstrate pests and diseases associated with these crops. More than 15 other minor fruits of Coorg region were also exhibited. Dr. Reju M. Kurian, Principal Scientist & Head, Division of Fruit Crops, ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru welcomed the guests and participants. The Chief Guest, Dr. M. Senthilkumar, Director of Research, Central Coffee Research Institute, Balehonnur addressed the gathering and stressed the importance of crop diversification in enhancing farm income and soil health. The Guest of Honour, Shri Bose Mandanna, Former Vice Chairman, Coffee Board and Planter, Suntikoppa gave a talk on “Coffee based avocado cultivation”. A technical bulletin on ‘Advances in avocado cultivation in India’ (in English) and two extension folders on ‘Avocado’ and ‘Spine gourd’ (in Kannada) were released. The Director, ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru in her presidential address, emphasized on the importance of underutilized fruits in human health. Dr. Saju George, Principal Scientist & Head, KVK, Gonikoppal and CHES, Chettalli, proposed a formal vote of thanks.
During the technical session, Dr. P.C. Tripathi (Principal Scientist & Nodal Officer, PME Cell, ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru) delivered a talk on ‘Present status and future prospects of avocado cultivation in India’; Dr. G. Karunakaran (Principal Scientist, Division of Fruit Crops, ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru) spoke about ‘Unlocking the potential of crop diversification strategies: Can avocado offer the gateway?’; Progressive farmers, Mr. Venkatesh, Bylukuppe, Kushal Nagara Taluk (spine gourd cv. Arka Bharath grower), Mr. Mohan Baby and Mr. Somanna, Ganagur, Somvarpet Taluk (Avocado cv. Arka Supreme growers), Kodagu district too shared their experiences and economic benefits of adoption of these varieties. Farmer-Scientist interactive session was also conducted. Dr. Debi Sharma, Director, Dr. Reju. M. Kurian, Dr. P.C. Tripathi, Dr. R. Venkatta Kumar, Dr. Saju George, Dr. T. Sakthivel, Dr. G. Karunakaran, Dr. V. Venkattaravanappa, Dr. Rajendiran S., Mr. Muralidhara, B.M. and Mr. Madhu, G.S. participated and clarified the doubts raised by the farmers. Dr. Shabana M. Sheikh, Joint Director of Agriculture, Kodagu District; Staffs of KVK, Gonikoppal; Scientists from IISR-RS, Appangala; Dr. Chandrappa, Deputy Director of Research and Scientists from CRSS, Chettalli; and more than 300 farmers from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana and Kerala had participated in the Workshop-cum-Field Day. A field visit was also arranged for farmers to showcase the results and performance of Arka Supreme variety of avocado and Arka Bharath variety of spine gourd in the field. Sale of planting materials of these two varieties and other fruit crops were also arranged for the benefit of the farmers.