National Research Centre On Lichi At Muzaffarpur

Pink, Brown litchies with green leaves around them presenting a spectacular view bewitching individuals of all ages have now grasped the much needed attention of Central government to enrich its variety, increase productivity, prolong its harvest period and to provide remunerative price to the farmers.

The National Research Centre on Litchi at Mujaffarpur set up by Indian Council of Agricultural Research on June 6, 2001 conduct mission mode basic and applied research for enhancing the profit of litchi growers by evolving improved varieties, developing better production technologies, integrated pest management and post harvest management. An All India Litchi show Was organized Mujaffarpur which exposed the farmers to newer and better varieties and technologies. India has good potential for its cultivation in the country and a large market.

Litchi with big domestic and export market suffers from problem of very short harvesting period. It also suffers from high post harvest losses upto 50 percent due to non-availability of suitable post harvest technology and standard packaging. Disappearance of natural pink colour of the fruits by the time they reach distant market is another significant problem.

The crop with high potential of area expansion in India and earning foreign exchange is presently grown in about 60,000 hectares in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Uttranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. Bihar, however, tops the tally with more than 60 per cent of the total production. In 1998-99 total litchi production in the country was 4,28,900 million tonnes with 63.8 per cent coming from Bihar. There is tremendous scope for expansion in the foot hills of Himalaya's, tarai belt, coastal region of western ghats and submountainous region in Southern Peninsula. The major litchi importing countries from India are Netherlands, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Canada, Russia and Yemen.

The succulent fruit, a part of Indian homes in summer, is not native to India. It originated in South China where it is known as 'Li chih' but its average yield of 7.6 million tonnes per ha. In India is the highest in the world. The main commercial varieties of litchi grown in India are Shahi, Chiana, Dahra Rose, Badana, Longia, Elaichi and Muzaffarpur. The economic bearing life of a litchi tree is more than 100 years which surpasses to majority of other commercial fruit trees. The Asia Pacific Region accounts from 95 per cent of the world's production. China is the largest producer of litchi followed by India. Thailand, Australia and Vietnam, South Africa, Madagascar and Florida in the United States are some other areas where litchi is cultivated.
Besides the juicy fruit, various products obtained include squash and juice, canned litchi, litchi fig or nut (dried litchi) and litchi pickle.

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