SRINAGAR: Agriculture scientists of a premier university here have developed a composite variety of popcorn that can be grown not only in Jammu and Kashmir, but across major maize growing areas of India.
Named as Shalimar Pop Corn 1, the new variety has been developed under the Specialty Variety Initiative, which focuses to develop crop varieties which are commercial profitable. The initiative has been launched by Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology, Kashmir.
The new variety is a result of a team effort by a group of scientists from SKUAST-K from the disciplines of Plant Breeding, Genetics, Agronomy, Entomology and Plant Pathology. The scientists include Dr Ajaz Ahmad Lone, Dr Nehvi, Dr Bashir Ahmad Alie, Dr ZA Dar, Dr MI Makhdoomi, Dr MA Ahangar, Dr Shafiq Hakeem, Dr SA Dar and Dr Gul Zaffar.
Pop Corn 1 was launched on Tuesday during 59th Annual group meeting of Indian Institute of Maize Research held at University of Agriculture Sciences, Bangalore.
Dr FA Nehvi senior scientist at SK University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology Kashmir, who has been associated with the development of this corn variety, told Kashmir Reader that the newly developed popcorn varieties are different than what are usually grown here.
The average production potential of the variety, as per Dr Nehvi, is four tonnes per hectare with popping percentage of more than 85 percent.
The variety has proven to be responsive to fertilisers, resistant to lodging and maturing in 135 days, he said. “Genotype has tendency to bear more than one cob per plant. The variety bears butterfly shaped popcorn with excellent taste and soothing feel,” he said.
“The normal field corn is hard-shelled, while as popcorn is unique among corn type due to its starchy endosperm which expands and pops up when heated,” Dr Nehvi said, adding only certain types of corn plants bear kernels that pop up.
He said that popcorn consumption is witnessing a surge not only in J&K but across India. “So farmers can now opt for cultivating this variety, which can give better returns than the traditional types grown here,” he said.
Dr Nehvi said several other agricultural universities too have developed their own pop corn varieties and “we too have come up with ours that has done well in trails across India.”