Why in news?
Scientists from Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, have developed a hybrid variety of grapes which is resistant to fungal diseases, high yielding and has excellent juice quality.
- The hybrid variety ARI-516 has been developed by interbreeding of two species from the same genus — Catawba variety of Vitis labrusca and Beauty seedless variety of Vitis vinifera.
- It has superior quality fruits and higher yield per unit area.
- An early ripening hybrid, it matures in 110 – 120 days after pruning.
- It is tolerant to downy & powdery mildew diseases as well as resistant to anthracnose disease-a group of fungal diseases that affect a variety of plants in warm, humid areas.
- India ranks twelfth in the world in terms of grape production.
- About 78% of grape production in India is utilized for consumption, 17-20 % for raisin production, 1.5 % for wine and 0.5 % for juice.
- Maharashtra leads in the production of grapes in India with a share of 81.22 %.
- A majority of farmers in Maharashtra cultivate ‘Thompson seedless’ and its clones for table purpose or raisin making.
- These varieties are highly susceptible to fungal diseases which increase plant protection cost. Grapes suffer 8.23-16 % of post-harvest losses.
- Juice making is an excellent option to reduce post-harvest losses.