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Grafting Can Significantly Reinforce Vegetable Productivity

Grafting can enhance crop resilience and productivity, and promote sustainable agriculture

Dr. Anant Bahadur, a distinguished Principal Scientist at the Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR) in Varanasi, has spearheaded a transformative shift in grafting techniques for essential vegetables like brinjal, potato, tomato, and chili within the Solanaceae family. Holding both graduate and post-graduate degrees in Agriculture from Chandra Shekhar Azad University of Agriculture & Technology, Kanpur, and a PhD focusing on the effects of growth regulators on vegetative growth, yield, and quality of Kagzi lime from BHU, Dr. Bahadur’s expertise is unparalleled.

In an exclusive conversation with The Interview World, Dr. Anant Bahadur sheds light on the pivotal role of grafting in agricultural progress. He elucidates its significance in breeding hybrid plants capable of not only increasing crop yields but also bolstering resistance against diseases and thriving in adverse environmental conditions. Dr. Bahadur’s groundbreaking research and insights can revolutionize agricultural practices, offering sustainable solutions to global food security challenges.

Q: How would you describe the goals, progress, and key components of your Brimato project?

A: Heavy rain in September often leads to waterlogging, a significant challenge for tomato plants, as it results in root damage and eventual plant death. This issue is widespread among farmers in India, severely affecting crop yields and livelihoods. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR) initiated a comprehensive project to develop a sustainable solution. Our objective was clear: to create a hybrid plant capable of withstanding waterlogging while maintaining robust fruit production.

After thorough research and analysis of various genetic factors, we determined that grafting tomato and brinjal plants would yield the desired results. The resulting hybrid, Brimato, exhibited remarkable resilience and productivity. Last year, Brimato plants boasted impressive yields, with individual specimens producing 3-4 kg of brinjal and 2.0-2.5 kg of tomatoes. Despite these successes, challenges persist in scaling up Brimato production to meet demand.

However, there is optimism as some farmers, having undergone training provided by our institute, are now independently cultivating grafted tomato or brinjal plants, contributing to the wider adoption of this innovative approach in agriculture.

Q: How do grafting techniques offer benefits in terms of enhancing plant growth and resilience?

A: Grafting is fundamentally anchored in the compatibility among plant families, particularly evident when they share lineage, such as our specimens from Solanaceae. This intrinsic relationship fosters the survival of newly created hybrids, enriching them with superior symbiotic traits. Beyond merely diversifying flora, grafting offers a substantial boon to both quantity and quality.

Furthermore, grafting represents a transformative opportunity for the average farmer. By significantly amplifying plant output, advancing genetic diversity, and fortifying resistance against diseases, it empowers agriculturalists to extract greater yields and a wider array of cultivars, irrespective of their land’s size constraints.

Q: How extensive is your experience with grafting within the Solanaceae family?

A: In addition to our innovative agricultural advancements, we’ve engineered a groundbreaking hybrid plant, the “pomato,” blending the desirable traits of potatoes and tomatoes. These hybrid plants exhibit remarkable high-yield characteristics, with each pomato yielding approximately 600 grams of potatoes and an impressive 2.5 kilograms of tomatoes. Envision the transformative benefits awaiting farmers who embrace this scientific marvel, ushering in a new era of productivity and sustainability in agriculture.

Q: What projects do you have planned for the future?

A: Our research endeavors now pivot towards harnessing the potential of various inter-specific rootstocks within Solanaceous and Cucurbitaceous vegetables, encompassing both cultivated and wild species. The overarching goal is to augment productivity while fortifying resilience against an array of soil-borne diseases. Encouraging strides have already been made in Cucurbitaceous vegetables such as Cucumber, bitter gourd, and muskmelon, indicating promising avenues for further exploration.

Moreover, we are actively sourcing seeds of specialized rootstocks from diverse channels to broaden our scope and enhance our outcomes. Notably, the cultivation of grafted plants like pomato and brimato not only promises practical advantages but also carries inherent aesthetic appeal, rendering them particularly suited for cultivation in confined urban spaces like balconies or terraces, nestled within pots.

Grafting Produces Brimato by Combining Brinjal and Tomato Stems
Grafting Produces Brimato by Combining Brinjal and Tomato Stems
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