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African remedy for barren litchi trees

A South African model of cultivation could soon be used to boost litchi production in the state.

National Litchi Research Centre in Mushahri, Muzaffarpur, is planning to boost production of the fruit by adopting the “top grafting” model used in South Africa.

Rajesh Kumar, a senior scientist of the centre, recently returned from a month-long tour of South Africa and China after studying the cultivation methods used in these countries. He told The Telegraph: “Experts in South Africa have imported clones from China and have adopted the ‘top grafting’ method to boost cultivation even from old trees.”

It is a method to make barren trees productive. The farmers cut a tree to a height of 1.5-2 metre from the ground. The trunk is treated with different medicines and thickened. A new implant is inserted into the trunk by cutting a wedge or cleft

In north Bihar, the fruit is cultivated in districts, like Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Samastipur, Khagaria, Bhagalpur, Banka, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Sitamarhi, as well as East and West Champaran, over more than 6,500 hectares.

The production of the orchards, however, has fallen over the past two years.