Monday, January 3, 2011

Aishwarya Rai is in the fruit basket

Aishwarya Rai is in the fruit basket: 'Aishwarya' will now adorn your fruit basket. Grafting expert and Padmashree horticulturist Haji Kaleemullah Khan has developed a sweeter variety of guava and named it after Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai.

The new variety of guava resembles an apple in texture and is more sweet smelling and pulpier. "The new variety of guava is very different in taste, smell and look from the traditional and normal varieties grown in the country," said Kaleemullah.

According to Kaleemullah, the biggest advantage of this variety is that it has soft seeds.

"It took almost eight years to develop this unique variety of guava and no chemical fertiliser or pesticide was used in developing the same," he said.

The horticulturist, who is based in the mango-belt of Malihabad, said that to keep the product totally organic, neem oil was used as a pesticide.

"All measures were taken to ensure that the product is free from any possible side effect which chemical fertiliser or pesticide may have on fruits," he said.

Pointing out that the plant which bears fruits round the year is highly productive, Kaleemullah said, "One can get as many as 72 fruits on a 3.7 foot long tree".

Kaleemullah is known for growing unique variety of fruits especially mangoes.

In May last year, the 70-year-old Khan grafted a new variety of mango, which he named after batsman Sachin Tendulkar.

"I am a 7th standard dropout and have been looking after the family business since 1957. My family's record in this business goes back to 150 years. I am more interested in developing different varieties on a single tree and began the multiple grafting process," he said.

Kaleemullah won the Padmashree for growing more than 300 varieties of mangoes of different shapes and sizes on one tree.

The tree is about 100 years old and he started working on it in 1987 to develop the craft of growing different varieties on one tree.

He had also developed a variety of mango and named it after Aishwarya.

"The 'Anarkali' variety of mango which I developed had two different types of fruit peel, with two layers of pulp having totally different taste," he said.

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