This summer, fruit lovers in the state would have more than enough to satiate their desire for traditional Shahi and China variety of litchis.
Sources said the current weather conditions favour a bumper crop. The traditional varieties of litchi cultivated in Muzaffarpur and other districts of north Bihar are expected to flood the markets.
Last year, 2.23 lakh tonnes of the fruit was cultivated over 30,000 hectares in Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Vaishali, East and West Champaran, Darbhanga, Katihar and Khagaria. This year, around a 25 per cent increase in production. In other words, the production this year would be 2.78 lakh tonnes. “The trend of flowering is optimum this season. The temperature and humidity are very good for both male and female flowers,” said Rajesh Kumar, principal scientist, National Research Centre for Litchi (NRCL), Mushahri.
He added that the improvement had been effected by the dissemination of technology among farmers by the NRCL. Apart from the Shahi and the China, Bedana, Mandaraji, Turkolia, Longia and Kasailia varieties are also being cultivated in north Bihar and would enhance the food production.
Besides litchi, farmers are being encouraged to keep honeybee boxes in their orchards. The bees are attracted by the boxes and by the flowers. When they visit the blooming flowers to collect nectar, the insects help in pollination by carrying pollen on their wings from one blossom to another.
“We have told the farmers not to spray insecticides during the blossoming period,” said Kumar, adding that the bumper crop of better quality would attract buyers even in big markets.