20 January 2022, New Delhi: The French Bean is one of the important cash crops for the Mizo farmers of Lusei Hill Region of Mizoram. Considering its importance for the economic wellbeing of the Mizo farmers, the ICAR-Research Complex for North-Eastern Hills Region, Mizoram introduced the several high yielding released determinate type French Bean varieties in 2016-17. These include Contender, PusaParvati from ICAR-IARI and ArkaKomal & ArkaSarathfrom ICAR-IIHR in summer Jhum agro-ecosystem and winter cultivation in the low-lying rice fallows of Kolasib District under the Tribal Sub Plan.
Field demonstration and release of Zorin bean through SVRC by Pu C. Lalrinsanga
The introduced French Bean varieties’ net average productivity was comparatively lower (4.04 to 5.21 t ha-1) under the Jhum cultivation in comparison to the traditional trailing type French Bean which allowed multiple pod harvesting preferred by the Mizo farmers (4.91 to 6.24tha-1). The high rainfall (>2500 mm per annum) received during the Monsoon Months often resulted in extensive crop damage for the Jhum grown French Bean along with higher incidences of pests and diseases particularly, Pod bug (Riptortuspedestris) and Fusarium rot (Fusariumsolani f. sp. pisi).
In contrast, winter cultivation under the irrigated conditions provides higher crop yield (seed yield 3.34±0.04t ha-1; green pod yield 6.21±0.14 t ha-1). Considering the consumer preference and higher yield potential of local French Bean, the ICAR-Research Complex for NEH Region, Mizoram in collaboration with the Directorate of Agriculture (Research and Extension), Government of Mizoram initiated the collection of genetic resources in the crop and their yield potential and quality traits through multi-location trials.
As a result, a purple colored (anthrocyanin rich @ 8.32 ± 1.36 mg 100 g of fresh weight-1) high yielding trailing type French Bean cultivar known as Zorin Bean (MZFB 48) was identified and released through the State Variety Release Committee (SVRC) on 5th March, 2019 for the first time in Mizoram. The variety achieved immense popularity for its characteristic purple color, wide adaptability and high production potential under the diverse agro-ecosystems, viz., Jhum (pre-Kharif @ 7.02±0.09 to 8.20±018tha-1 pod yield) and wetland rice fallow cultivation (Rabi @ 3.54±0.08 to 3.87±0.02 tha-1).
The released variety is highly suitable for growing in homestead nutritional gardens of Mizo households. Seeing the increase in demand of quality seed with the rising popularity of Zorin Bean, the Centre initiated the Entrepreneurship Development Programme on Quality Seed Production under Tribal Sub Plan in the farmers’ fields. Under the TSP scheme, the targeted farmers were made available with all the critical inputs (seeds, fertilizers, irrigation and plant protection measures). They were also facilitated the mass multiplication of quality seeds of Zorin Bean during the winter Months (October to December; 3.81 t ha-1 as seed purpose and 6.08 t ha-1 as pod purpose) in wet rice (wetland rice) fallows of Kolasib District.
Entrepreneurship development through quality seed production of Zorin bean
Under the Participatory Seed Production Programme initiated in collaboration with the Directorate of Agriculture, Government of Mizoram, the Centre adapted a total of 38 farmers in Kolasib District.
Shri Pu Casper Lalnunmawia, farmer became one of the most successful Entrepreneur farmers to produce quality seeds of Zorin Bean during the Rabi season (2019 and 2020). Along with increasing the net cropping intensity, his present venture also provided ample opportunity for successful Entrepreneurship Development (in business mode) on quality seed production of Zorin Bean to fulfill the huge state demand for its seed.
The Centre’s initiatives helped to realize the aim of self-reliance on the principles of “Vocal for Local” in Mizoram towards the future self-sufficiency in seed production under the Tribal Sub Plan Programme.