Kaushambi (UP), Aug 9 (PTI) Allahabad guava, which attracted fruit lovers for its unique taste, has been witnessing a fall in production and area under cultivation due to land fragmentation.
Wilting (ukta rog) is another reason for the fall in production of the fruit, which lured people from different parts of the country passing through the area.
The state government is extending support to boost the cultivation of the fruit.
District Agriculture department officials said that farmers are being given saplings at a subsidised price and training programmes are being organised frequently to perk up the cultivation of Allahabad guava.
Though the fruit is identified with Allahabad, now Prayagraj, the bulk of area under cultivation falls in Kaushambi, which was carved out of Allahabad and created as a new district 25 years ago.
As of now, the guava is grown on 500 hectares in Kaushambi in different blocks -- Sirathuu, Kurhaa, Mooratganj, Chayal and Nevada.
Guava has been selected as the fruit from the Kaushambi district under the One District One Product scheme (ODOP).
It comes in three varieties -- Surkha, Safeda and Lalit (red seeds). Cultivation is done mainly of Surkha and Safeda varieties.
Rajesh Kushwaha and Mahant Kumar Kushwaha, farmers based in Sirathu, said that the cultivation of guavas has become less profitable compared to earlier times.
As the saplings are ready to produce fruits after 4-5 years but, owing to wilting, they start drying and this reduces the profits, the farmers said.
Training in-charge of Prayagraj-based Khusru Bagh Vijay Kishor Singh said farmers were given training in May-June to have better production of the fruit.
They were also given tips on how to prevent the plants from various infections.
He said that on one hectare, normally 300 saplings are planted, and one plant yields fruit in the range of 100 to 125 kg. Surkha is priced at Rs 60 per kilogram in the market, while Safeda costs around Rs 40 a kg.
Singh also said that a new variety of guava known as "Lucknow-49" has been developed. It is more resistant to wilting as compared to Surkha and Safeda.
The farmers have been advised to go for this variety, he said.
District horticulture officer Surendra Ram Bhaskar said that in Chail tehsil, there is a nursery of the horticulture department, where a sapling is available at Rs 29 and farmers get a subsidy on it.
In addition, saplings can be obtained from the Khusro Bagh nursery located in Prayagraj.
He also said that a centre of excellence is being set up in Kokhraj village in Sirathu tehsil.
The centre will provide training to the farmers of the region about new techniques related to farming and horticulture.
Experts are also invited from time to time, and the farmers are given training on horticulture, Bhaskar noted.
Normally, the guava plant produces fruits twice a year. The first fruit comes in August, which is called 'sawani', while the second fruit comes between November and March.
The 'sawani' variety is of small size, less sweet and ripes early.
Once this variety gets ripened, insects infest it, and it is not fit for being sold in the market. Therefore, this variety is taken from the plants before it gets mature and sold in the market.
The November-March variant is sweet, big and relatively hard.
This variant is sent to various states, such as West Bengal, Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The guavas, which are being sent outside the state, are plucked when they are relatively raw, and they remain green by the time they reach the 'mandis' (markets).
The three varieties -- Surkha, Safeda and Lalit -- come under the November-March category.
Surkha ripens in January and its colour becomes red -- closely resembling an apple. Its pulp is sweet, but the seeds are hard. This is the costliest variety of guava.
Safeda on getting mature assumes yellow colour. This is comparatively cheaper than Surkha.
Lalit is yellow and less sweet as compared to Surkha and Safeda. PTI CORR NAV SNS BAL