Monday, 22 April 2019

All India Coordinated Research Project on Spices (AICRPS)


The All India Coordinated Research Project on Spices (AICRPS), a project of Indian Council of Agricultural research (ICAR), is located in Kerala with its head quarters at Indian Institute of Spices Research, Calicut. The AICRPS which started with 14 centres in 12 states, has grown to 34 centres spread over 21 states of the country, representing various agroclimatic zones suitable for spices cultivation with a budget out lay of Rs.1400 lakhs in XI Plan. The AICRPS has sanctioned staff strength of 83 comprising of 51 scientific, 26 technical and 6 auxiliary posts. The mandate crops include black pepper (9 centres), small cardamom (4 centres), large cardamom (2 centres), ginger (6 centres), turmeric (14 centres), coriander (12 centres), cumin (4 centres), fennel (9 centres), fenugreek (12 centres), cinnamon (3 centres), nutmeg (3 centres) and clove (3 centres).

The AICRPS has contributed substantially since its inception by enriching germplasm, developing high yielding varieties; technologies for increasing the production and productivity; combating pests and pathogens to reduce crop losses, secondary agriculture etc. A large number of germplasm (7000 accessions) has been conserved in 12 crops viz., black pepper (734 accessions), cardamom (313 accessions), ginger (672 accessions), turmeric (1312 accessions), clove (39 accessions), nutmeg (22 accessions), cinnamon & cassia (52 accessions), fennel (625 accessions), fenugreek (989 accessions), coriander (1990 accessions) and cumin (499 accessions).

The high yielding- high quality ginger and turmeric; fennel and fenugreek; wilt resistant cumin and coriander varieties suitable for rainfed farming are very popular among the farmers.

Several new initiatives were taken up in spices during the last few years. Experiments to study the influence of environment on genotypes were undertaken in turmeric and ginger. In order to reduce dependence on labour, new trials were undertaken in turmeric on mechanical harvesting and improved processing and fertigation. The role of rhizobacteria in growth promotion in seed spices was undertaken in all centres. Management of diseases using biocontrol agents in black pepper, ginger and cardamom and organic farming methods were also undertaken. Management of soft rot and bacterial wilt in ginger using ecofriendly methods such as biofumigants using crop residues of cabbage and mustard has been initiated. New experiments on production of leafy type coriander during off season (summer) are another initiative which is well received by farmers. Organic farming technologies were standardized in most of the spices to meet the demands of organic production. Biofertilizers/ bioregulator and micronutrient application on black pepper, turmeric, ginger, coriander, fennel and fenugreek were also standardized.

AICRPS also has a nationwide linkage with reputed organizations like Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR) Calicut, National Research Centre on Seed Spices (NRCSS), Ajmer, State Agricultural Universities, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, New Delhi and Indian Cardamom Research Institute (Spices Board) for undertaking collaborative and interdisciplinary research.