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Underutilized Fruits and Vegetables in Hot Arid Regions of India: Status and Prospects: A Review

DOI: 10.18805/ag.R-2087    | Article Id: R-2087 | Page : 38-45
Citation :- Underutilized Fruits and Vegetables in Hot Arid Regions of India: Status and Prospects: A Review.Agricultural Reviews.2022.(43):38-45
P.R. Meghwal, Akath Singh, Dalpat Singh prm20964@gmail.com
Address : ICAR- Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur-342 003, Rajasthan, India.
Submitted Date : 22-08-2020
Accepted Date : 26-12-2020

Abstract

The hot arid regions in India is spread in an area of 31.7 m ha, majority area being in Rajasthan (61%). The great Indian Thar desert is also located in this region. This region receives vary low rain fall with erratic distribution. Presence of harsh climatic condition such as high evapotranspiration, low relative humidity, with high aridity index and high wind velocity are other disadvantages. The soils are also light textured, less fertile, and prone to wind erosion. About 90 per cent of the area is dependent on monsoon rain for growing of annual crops which often fails due to insufficient rain or improper distribution. Despite these limitations, the region has good floral and faunal diversity that supports high human and livestock population. Many drought hardy perennial fruits and vegetables are grown with annual crops to complement farm income. Certain fruit crops like pomegranate (Punica granatum), Indian jujube (Ziziphus mauritiana Lam.), aonla (Emblica officinalis), date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) and Citrus species are grown commercially in irrigated areas. Many underutilized fruit crops also grow naturally or are cultivated. These include kair (Capparis decidua), lasora (Cordia myxa) jhar ber (Ziziphus nummularia), bordi (Ziziphus rotundifolia) pilu (Salvadora oleoides), khejri (Prosopis cineraria), phalsa (Grewia subinaequalis), Bengal quince (Aegle marmelos), karonda (Carissa carandas), prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica), kachri (Cucumis melo var. callosus) and snap melon (Cucumis melo var. momordica) etc. Most of these species are drought hardy with less incidence of pests and diseases yet give good yield despite environmental constraints. They serve as a source of nutrition for rural people being rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fibres and other bioactive compounds. Germplasm collection, evaluation, conservation, ethnomedicinal values, improvement, propagation, agrotechniques, post-harvest management, value addition and future prospects of some of these crops are discussed in the paper.

Keywords

Agrotechniques Hot arid region Underutilized fruits drought

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