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India’s first triple disease resistant tomato F1 hybrid Arka Rakshak” brings back smile on farmers face

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Highlights of Success

  • First public triple disease resistant tomato F1 hybrid in India
  • Yields up to 18 kg/plant
  • Successfully withstood against ToLCV, BW & EB in farmers’ fields
  • Earned an average net income ranging from Rs 4-5 lakhs/ac depending on seasons.
  • Adoption of precision farming practices to harness full yield potential.

Tomato is one of the important vegetable crops grown in India.. Among the major contributing states Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Maharashtra, the average productivity is highest in Karnataka (35 t/ha) mostly due to the favorable environmental conditions and adoption of high yielding hybrids. However, India yet to achieve the yield potential (60-80 t/ha) due to low adoption of hybrids and occurrence of pests, diseases and other abiotic factors.  Among biotic factors, diseases like Tomato Leaf Curl Virus (ToLCV), Bacterial wilt (BW) and early blight (EB) cause yield loss up to 70-100 per cent if uncontrolled.

Mr. Chandrappa (Contact No. 0944803878) a farmer of Devasthanada Hosahally village of Chikkaballapura Taluk, Chikkaballapura district, Karnataka, owns 20 acres of irrigated and grown mostly horticultural crops like tomato, potato, capsicum, carrot and grapes. He never used to miss tomato crop in his crop plan in entire farming experience. However, Mr Chandrappa, due to the continued incidences of diseases like BW, ToLCV, EB, etc. permanently discontinued tomato cultivation after 2010 since hybrids of private and public institutions were not found resistance to multiple diseases. 

The Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bangalore under the leadership of Dr A. T. Sadashiva, Tomato breeder developed first time in India the triple disease resistance tomato hybrid Arka Rakshak, resistant to  ToLCV+BW+EB with the initial yield potential of 75-80 t/ha during 2010. Fruits of the hybrid are square round, large (90-100 g), deep red with very firm fruits and suitable for both fresh distance marketing as well as processing.


Arka Rakshak : High yielding F1 hybrid with triple disease resistance to TOLCV+ BW+EB

Mr. Chandrappa took up the cultivation of first crop of Arka Rakshak during summer 2012 cautiously by planting only 1000 plants of Arka Rakshak along with 1000 plants of commercial F1 hybrid Badsha.  He was impressed with the performance of the new F1 hybrid Arka Rakshak which had less incidence of bacterial wilt (<5%). The tomato fruits fetched higher price over other commercial F1 hybrids because the fruits of Arka Rakshak had attractive deep red colour  and the fruits were  very firm with very good keeping quality (15-20 days) suitable for distant market. He could harvest an average 7.3 kg per plant and helped by high summer price earned a net profit of about Rs one lakh from 1000 plants (0.25 ac). A field day was successfully organized during summer 2012 under NICRA project of the institute and more than 150 farmers participated.

Impressed and convinced, Mr. Chandrappa again raised 2000 seedlings in a half an acre plot (2000 sq mts) during August 2012 as second crop with an increased space between plants and rows to enhance fruit size and thereby fruit yield. He reaped an extraordinary yield of 38 t/2000 sqmt (76 t/ac) which works out an average yield of 19 kg/plant. Net profit realized was Rs 2.5 lakhs from his ½-acre plot. Then he further increased his acreage to one acre during third crop of Arka Rakshak during summer 2013 and harvested 60 t/ac and earned a net profit of Rs. 5 lakhs. His fourth crop during kharif 2013 yielded still higher average yield of about >20 kg per plant and realized a net profit of Rs. 2.5  lakhs from 2500 plants. 

During summer-2014, he raised fifth consecutive crop of Arka Rakshak in his farm in one acre (3500 plants) and he could harvest 31 t /acre from 12 pickings (110 days after transplanting) till August 16, 2014 and the farmer is expecting to harvest further 30 t/ac from the healthy and pest free field. He cleverly planned his planting keeping in view the high summer price and so far earned a gross income of Rs. 9.75 lakhs.

Dr. S. Ayyappan, Hon’ble Secretary, DARE, Government of India and Director General, ICAR, New Delhi visited tomato field (Arka Rakshak- triple disease resistant F1 hybrid) of Mr Chandrappa at Devasthanada Hosahalli Village, Chikkaballapura District, Karnataka on 16-08-2014. Dr. N.K. Krishna Kumar, Hon’ble Deputy Director General (Hort. Sci.), ICAR, New Delhi and Dr. T. Manjunath Rao, Director (Acting), IIHR, Bangalore accompanied DG during the visit. Mr. Chandrappa highlighted the DG that the plant has good level of resistance to all three diseases viz. bacterial wilt, tomato leaf curl virus and early blight and stated that the fruits are firm, uniform in weight ( 90 g) and shape (oblong) and develops attractive deep red colour on ripening. The farmer added that due to the excellent firmness and longer shelf life (15-20 days), fruits are ideal for long distance transport and preferred in the market.

Hon’ble DDG (Hort. Sci.) explained that, tomato leaf curl virus is the most devastating disease on tomato in all the major tomato-growing areas in the world including India and Arka Rakshak is the first triple disease resistant F1 hybrid bred from a public institution. Dr. A. T. Sadashiva, Principal scientist who developed this hybrid explained to the DG that desirable traits and fruit firmness in Arka Rakshak was incorporated by selection of desirable recombinants in the segregating population during development of the female parent and improved fruit firmness was due to less number of locules (2-3) and thick pericarp (1 cm). He impressed upon the DG that more than 35 kg of F1 seeds of Arka Rakshak was distributed to 22 states in the country so far. The institute is receiving requests from Africa, Pakistan and Vietnam countries for the supply of F1 seeds.  He informed that the price is fixed low at less than the half of the market rate keeping in view the farmers affordability (Rs 300 per 10 g against Rs 600-700 fixed by the private companies). Dr. M. Prabhakar, Principal Scientist and Head, and Dr. Shankar Hebbar Principal Scientist Division of Vegetable crops mentioned that yield potential and uniform size and firmness of fruits were accomplished also because of adoption of precision farming practices (Drip + Black polythene mulch + Fertigation + Foliar nutrition), application of vegetable special developed by IIHR and foliar spray of  micronutrients. Hon’ble DG and DDG (Hort. Sci) congratulated the whole team of scientists involved in the development of Arka Rakshak and appreciated Mr. Chandrappa and his family members for the scientific way of raising the tomato crop in achieving high yield potential. 

Mr. Chandrappa is now cultivating the tomato hybrid Arka Rakashak continuously and in  this way he has become a model tomato farmer in adopting and popularizing the triple disease resistant tomato F1 hybrid Arka Rakshak in major tomato growing areas of Southern States. Determined efforts of growing the public institution hybrid by keeping faith in the Scientists earned him not only higher income but also earned him awards and recognitions as listed below.

  • ‘Best tomato grower’ award in recognizing the continued demonstration of Arka Rakshak and continuously by IIHR, Bangalore on occasion of Institute Foundation day organized on 5-9-2013.  
  • Interview by the ‘The Hindu’ and published a report “ New Tomato variety that yields 19 kg a plant” on 11-09-2013.
  • A news report in entitleled : A new hybrid tomato variety developed by scientists at IIHR, Bangalore, is found to yield up to 19 kilos of tomatoes per plant in Biospectrum on 16-09-2013
  • A news report on entitled “New tomato variety is boon to farmers”in Bangalore Mirror on 18-09-2013 

The work of Dr A. T. Sadashiva of IIHR, Bangalore and his team got wide recognition in India and also internationally for their commendable work on developing India’s first triple resistant tomato hybrid by the public research institute under NARS system and some new items/recognition are as follows.

  • Acknowledged by the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India – In “ICAR Marches Ahead in Development of Farm Technologies” Quoted under horticultural crops, Arka Rakshak – a tomato variety resistant tobacterial wilt, ToLCV and Alternaria (yielding over 90 t /ha) was released - Press Information Bureau, GOI, Ministry of Agriculture dt. 31-12-2013
  • Acknowledgement by AVRDC, Taiwan on developing the triple resistant hybrid Arka Rakshak.
  • Visit of Secretary DARE and DG, ICAR, DDG (Hort. Sci.) and other key officials of private seed companies to various Arka Rakshak demonstration plots .
  • NDTV Telecast of the interview of Dr. A.T. Sadashiva on 20-09-2013 about the successful adoption of Arka Rakshak by farmers
  • Publishing the news report on the success of Arka Rakshak as stated above.
  • Recognition and request for seeds of Arka Rakshak from farmers and researchers of Pakisthan, Malaysia and Ghana.   

The institute is producing large quantity of F1 seeds of Arka Rakshak in order to meet the demand for seeds. So far a total of 30 kg of F1 seeds has been produced and distributed to cover an area of 400 hectares in India. Apart from this many nursery entrepreneur are coming forward to raise the seedling of Arka rashak to meet the demand.