Kottayam: Hybrid cardamom may be the answer to meet the fall in cardamom production due to climate change.
The Indian Cardamom Research Institute,(ICRI), Myladumpara, is working on developing hybrid varieties which are stress- tolerant and can better survive in adverse conditions like drought.
At present, the popular varieties give a yield of 340 kilograms per hectare, but the hybrid may increase it by 200 kg.
"We have evaluated the rainfall intensity, sunshine hours and cloudiness and understood the change in climate. A hybrid variety will be developed within eight to ten years to meet the situation," Dr Muthuswamy Murukan, professor and head of the institute, told DC.
The institute had developed two climate-resilient and drought-tolerant varieties--KAU PV3 and PV 5-- in 2018.
They are highly adaptable to the current climate patterns.
According to the institute, 25 to 30 percent crop loss has occurred in the Idukki cardamom hill reserves due to climate variations.
The current loss is due to the floods in 2018 followed by severe heat.
The flowering and yield are affected by the rise in atmospheric and soil temperature, dry soil conditions, increased air humidity and sunshine.
To increase the yield, the institute has recommended cultivating multiple varieties of cardamom like Mysore, Vazhuka and Malabar types in the area. In Idukki district alone, cardamom is grown in 46,000 hectares.