Pandemic or not the agriculture dependent sector of the society faces a variety of hardships. Scant rainfall sometimes can cause crop loss but even excess rainfall can also damage crops many a times coupled with transportation prices that shoots up almost every season. Few innovations by agriculture scientists certainly help to ease the burden of the shoulders of farmers. Here is one such recent innovation by The Directorate of Cashew Research (DCR) which is under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in Puttur, Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. The scientists here have released a new jumbo nut hybrid cashew breed called Nethra Jumbo-1.
Several varieties of cashews are grown in the coastal region of Karnataka. The largest and finest varieties are exported to various countries from here. Nethra Jumbo-1, the newest variety is said to ease the burden off the growers and fill their pockets sooner. Principal Scientist of the directorate Dr J Dinakara Adiga says 90 cashews nuts of this variety makes a kilogram while other breeds need 160 nuts to reach a kilo. This reduces the amount of labor for harvest and processing to half.
“The new variety can save around Rs 16,000 a ton on labour cost and fetch a premium of Rs 10,000 for bigger size of nut yield. Hence farmers can earn an additional revenue of Rs 26,000 for every ton of cashew cultivated. Also this is a very profitable breed since it survives well and maintains yield under rain fed horticultural crops.”
Growers benefit all along
Around 40% of the total expenditure in cashew cultivation goes for harvesting through picking of fallen nuts. Since nut size is a huge advantage with Nethra Jumbo-1 it is helpful for growers. “This variety produces 12 gram nut with a high kernel recovery of 29% and the kernels fall under grade larger (W130) than presently available highest export grade (W180)” said Dr Adiga.
Other medium to small varieties weigh around 5 to 7 grams. A few exception of bold nut types weigh 8 to 9 grams. Premium sized kernels, lesser manpower for harvesting is the main advantage of this new variety. Since Nethra Jumbo-1 has bigger nut size, processors can pay around Rs 10 more per kg. This in turn will help the farmer to earn Rs 10,000 more per ton, said Dr Adiga. The bigger nuts improve processing efficiency in the factory as it saves labor, he added.
Also, Nethra Jumbi-1 bears fruits by January which is way ahead of cashew season. General cashews come to market by March – May. Early in the market means better price is a well know success formula so it is a win either way. As of now, the trees are grown in the campus of the institute which are bearing healthy fruits. Saplings of the same will be distributed to farmers soon. Officials said that several growers have already approached them for saplings.