The ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research (ICAR-IISR), Kozhikode, has developed a high-yielding variety of black pepper named ‘IISR Chandra’. The institute has also completed the genome sequencing of the variety.

The research team behind the variety includes Shivakumar MS, B Sasikumar, KV Saji, Sheeja TE, KS Krishnamurthy, and Sivaranjani.

Conventionally, new pepper varieties are created by crossing two existing varieties. However, IISR employed a different approach in the development of IISR Chandra. Initially, the varieties Cholamundi and Thommankodi were crossed to produce a hybrid variety. Subsequently, this hybrid was crossed with Thommankodi to retainall the desired parental traits.

The ‘IISR Chandra’ variety has a long spike, compact setting, and bold berries. It also showed optimal spike intensity greater than than of other existing varieties and can yield 7.5 kg pepper per vine.

The new variety is expected to be a game-changer for the country’s black pepper economy, said R Dinesh, Director of ICAR-IISR, Kozhikode. It could outperform and potentially replace some of the reigning black pepper varieties, he said.

To promote widespread adoption of IISR Chandra, the institute is extending production licences to individuals, farmers, and nurseries. It plans to execute eight licence agreements for the commercial production of IISR Chandra.

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