Insights on India’s Citrus Industry

Josh McGill HLB Management, International

Fundecitrus researcher Franklin Behlau lectured about canker and HLB and participated in other ways at the recent Asian Citrus Congress in Nagpur, India. His lecture addressed the advancement of HLB (also known as greening) in the Brazilian citrus belt and the work carried out by Fundecitrus in combating HLB and canker.

Franklin Behlau lectured at the Asian Citrus Congress.

Behlau also moderated a technical session and participated in a round table on innovative technologies and strategies for increasing sustainability in citrus production.

“Participation was important to interact with other researchers, including those who are researching the use of plant regulators to reduce fruit drop in plants affected by greening, a topic studied at Fundecitrus,” he said. 

Additionally, Behlau participated in a field visit and visited the citrus orchards in the region. He said HLB is present in most citrus-growing regions in India. Only a few isolated areas do not have the disease.

“In Nagpur, the incidence of diseased plants is practically 100%, and there is no control of the psyllid,” Behlau said. “Although the incidence is high, the plants are not drastically affected by the disease. They show symptoms and loss of production but not at levels observed in other regions.”

Behlau said the main hypothesis for why trees in India are not drastically affected by HLB is that the Nagpur region is extremely hot. “This corroborates the variations observed in the disease in the state of São Paulo (Brazil) with lower incidence in warmer regions,” he stated.

Learn about the incidence of HLB in Brazil here.

India is known for its citrus genetic diversity and encompasses 27 native species. It is the third largest citrus producer in the world, contributing 10.76% of the citrus cultivated area and 8.84% of the world’s citrus production. Citrus farming covers approximately 900,000 hectares. Productivity is low, reaching about 20 to 25 tons of fruit per hectare in well-managed orchards. The main varieties produced in the country are Nagpur tangerines and oranges.

The Asian Citrus Congress brought together 400 participants, including researchers, students, exporters and citrus growers. Behlau was the only representative from Brazil and South America.

Source: Fundecitrus

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