Challenges and opportunities for improved productivity of litchi
Millions in India rely on litchi-based orcharding as their means of livelihood. Despite the promises and potential that litchi provides, assured farm income from litchi orchards has become increasingly challenging. The pressure on land due to increasing human and animal population makes area expansion under litchi difficult. Sustained litchi production year in and year out is constantly threatened by biotic and abiotic stresses that come with climate change, a phenomenon that appears destined to stay. Limited harvest period of fruit at a particular site has been partially addressed with agro-techniques but the seasonality of cropping within the country has been broken by micro-analysis of available data. Now off-season litchi (December harvest) has become a reality. Outbreaks of pests and diseases, which were until now considered minor, pose serious threats to derail the industry. Indian litchi industry is also plagued by limitations in fresh fruit logistics which is the challenge to ensure postharvest cool chain integrity and limited value addition or processing. In this document, we take a closer look at these hindrances blocking the road to sustained and assured litchi production. Such challenges are discussed in light of industry experiences in recent times. The paper also takes into account newer initiatives, from genetic improvement through sustainable plant production and protection measures to integrated postharvest management strategies, needed to ensure that emerging challenges are overcome to realize the opportunities that litchi offer for stakeholders.
Nath, V., Pandey, S.D., Pongener, A., Srivastava, K. and Marboh, E.S. (2018). Challenges and opportunities for improved productivity of litchi. Acta Hortic. 1211, 161-164
litchi, climate change, livelihood, orcharding