Ranchi Station of ICAR-NBPGR identifies unique genetic stocks of jackfruit and tamarind from Simdega district of Jharkhand

Date Posted: 24-01-2018

The land of Jharkhand is blessed with immense biodiversity of minor tropical fruits of great local and national significance. These include Jackfruit, Tamarind, Jamun, Lakoocha, Kendu, Mahua, Bhelwa, Amra, Ber etc. Out of these, jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) enjoys a special status owing to its use both as a vegetable when unripe as well as a fruit upon ripening. Baby jackfruits of around 2 months of age are made into a variety of cuisines in the rural tribal and urban cultures. It is a cherished delicacy in the eastern states of Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal etc. Almost every part of the fruit and the tree itself is used in various ways and, therefore, it is of high economic, social and cultural importance. Usually, the jackfruit starts flowering in October-November months in Jharkhand and starts selling in the market from February onwards. It has been a traditional vegetable on the occasion of Holi festival since ages. However, it was observed during regular market surveys that vegetable purpose baby jackfruit is also sold during the festival of Deepawali, which generally falls in the months of October-November, at a premium price of Rs. 300 to 400 a kg. This was identified as the twice fruiting genotype or as locally called “Barahmasia Kathal” and the source of these off season jackfruits was found to be the Simdega district located in South West Jharkhand. By the premium price it was fetching in the market and the its transport to the nearby states, it was also concluded that this off-season jackfruit could be a potential source of rural income generation and livelihood security of the deprived native folks.
Therefore, a survey programme for identification of the unique twice bearing jackfruit genetic stocks was undertaken in Kolebira block in Simdega district on 17.01.2018 in collaboration with the KVK, Simdega. The team comprised of Dr. S.K. Bishnoi, Scientist and Officer Incharge, Dr. S.B. Choudhary, Scientist, ICAR-NBPGR, Regional Station, Ranchi and Dr. Himanshu Singh, Programme Coordinator, KVK, Simdega. During the survey 5 twice fruiting jackfruit genotypes and one extra early type genotype was successfully identified. The genotypes were marked for future follow up and basic morphological data along with the geographic coordinates and altitude elevations were recorded. Apart from jackfruit, immense diversity in tamarind (Tamarindus indica) was observed in the explored region. Two very unique genetic stocks of tamarind were identified and marked during the survey. One was a sweet type of tamarind (Meethi Imali) and the other was a tree bearing fruits of exceptional length of 24 cm. The identified genetic stocks are planned to be observed in different seasons for trait confirmation. Further, it was observed that the explored area exhibits tremendous diversity in tropical minor fruits and systematic exploration and collection of this precious diversity need to be undertaken before its permanent loss due to a multitude of reasons.