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"Farmers over-irrigate their orchards, and the stagnating water is the main reason behind this disease, which can even wipe out the entire kinnow cultivation of Punjab," Dr Gosal adds. "With the arrival of the daisy, the risk will be reduced."
The daisy tangerine, a product of cross-breeding between mandarin varieties, was officially named by Dowling Young of Young's Nursery in Thermal, California. Its tryst with Punjab began five years ago when saplings were brought from California to PAU, leading to the research that found it as suitable as it is attractive.
"We are in the process of readying the root stalks. TERI (The Energy and Resource Institute, New Delhi) will help us in mass production and multiplication of saplings; the material will be provided by PAU. Then they will be distributed to farmers in Punjab at very nominal rates," says Dr Pushpinder Singh Aulakh, head of PAU's fruit sciences department.
"The daisy is not a competitor against the kinnow but is a profitable addition that will reduce losses suffered by kinnow," says L S Brar, the state horticulture director.
What consumers can also look up to is a fall in prices of mausami and kinnow. "It is the right time to introduce the daisy," says Dr M S Gill, PAU's director for extension education.