MADURAI: It is for the first time in the history of horticulture, Virudhunagar, which’s mostly hot and humid, begins to yield Water Apple, a sweet and juicy fruit.
Water Apple is botanically known as ‘Syzgium samaranganese’ from the Myrtaceae family.
This new fruit was raised by an integrated farming system, which combines organic and conventional techniques, said R Vijayakumar, a native of Ammapatti village, Virudhunagar, on Saturday.
Cultivation of this fruit was taken up on a trial basis that finally yielded desired results.
More importantly, it’s an experiment for this 57-year old man, who raised 306 plants on one and half acres of heavy clayey soil at Narayanapuram village of Kundalapatti panchayat in the district.
After one year, the cultivation yielded 25 kg of ‘Water Apple’. One fruit weighed an average of about 40 to 50 grams.
Though involved in business at Chennai, he developed passion for organic and sustainable farming at his native. The jubilant farmer said new seedlings were brought from Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh. It’s almost a pest free crop, requires less water and organic fertilizer derived from compost, cattle manure and poultry droppings were applied. Apart from Water Apple, he’s also trying other fruit species including ‘Taiwan Pink Guava,’ ‘Red Lady Papaya,’ he told DT Next.
Highlighting Water Apple’s medicinal uses, Virudhunagar Deputy Director of Horticulture B Radhakrishnan, said Water Apple provides dietary support for diabetes and helps prevent urinary tract infection.
He also added that a proposal has been sent to the state for producing Water Apple seedlings in the government farm in the district as the new variety could offer a good scope of income generation among farmers.
Now, Water Apple adds to a list of horticultural crops, including mango, guava, sappota, amla, pomegranate, papaya, dragon fruit and fig in the district, which has a total area of 28,000 ha for horticulture, advising micro irrigation method of cultivation to ensure better management with less water and more yield to double the income of farmers, the Deputy Director said.