Litchi is an important fruit crop of the country with tremendous domestic market and export potential. At present, the area of this fruit under cultivation is 95,000 hectares and production is 727,000 metric tonnes (NHB, 2018-19). The productivity of litchi is although better in India in comparison with its native country but still wide gap exists between present productivity level (7-8 tonnes/ha) and realizable potential productivity (14-15 tonnes/ha). The export of litchi from India is however meagre (108 tonnes). Litchi contributes significantly to the growers’ economy in Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Jharkhand states of India that accounts for 78% of the total production in the country. Bihar produces 43% of total litchi and occupies nearly 35% of the area in India. About 300 thousand metric tonnes of litchi is being produced from 32 thousand hectares area in Bihar of which nearly 12,000 hectares of orchards are in Muzaffarpur The ICAR-NRC on Litchi has the mandate to address the productivity gap through basic and strategic research in areas of crop improvement and genetic enhancement, development of sustainable production technologies, integrated pest management systems, and post-harvest management and value addition.
Litchi is a non-climacteric fruit where the post-harvest losses have been assessed to the tune of 18-23 per cent. This is another challenge to reduce the losses with suitable postharvest management tools. The ICAR-National Research Centre on Litchi, since its establishment in 2001, has risen to all the challenges and needs of stakeholders by developing appropriate and affordable technologies.
The Centre continued its path of progress in basic and applied research under different thematic areas, and made significant efforts in transfer of technology through trainings, outreach programmes and demonstrations. With the target of promoting entrepreneurship among stakeholders, the Centre has been regularly conducting EDP in litchi beverages.
Litchi is gaining wide popularity across the length and breadth of the country. In recent years, we have had the privilege of responding to queries, demands, and doubts of growers, entrepreneurs, traders and other stakeholders from different parts of the country. It is a vindication of our pan-India presence and the trust that we shall deliver. It is enough reason, as an institution, to be humbled and yet gear ourselves to meet all emerging challenges and strive for excellence.
Dr. Bikash Das
Director, ICAR- NRC on Litchi