Agri Business

Kerala Agri Uni to popularise seedless watermelon varieties

V.Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on September 20, 2021

Production cost for one acre is estimated to be ₹50,000 that will fetch a yield of three to four watermelons per plant

Next time you go for kitchen or terrace garden farming, try the seedless watermelon varieties developed by Kerala Agricultural University.

Christened Shonima and Swarna, these hybrid varieties were grown under a newly constructed polyhouse (10 cents) at Vellanikkara in Thrissur through mulching, drip irrigation and sowing seeds on raised beds covered with polythene mulch. To popularise its commercial cultivation, the University has demonstrated the feasibility of seedless watermelon at a polyhouse constructed with funding from the State Horticulture Mission.

Pradeepkumar T, Head, Department of Vegetable Science, KAU, told BusinessLine that these unique hybrids are suitable for polyhouse and open precision farming. A field demonstration under open precision farming was conducted with high density planting.

Profitable crop

The production cost for one acre is estimated to be ₹50,000 that will fetch a yield of three to four watermelons per plant with each fruit weighing 2.5 to 3 kg. The farm gate price is expected to be ₹20 and the farmer can earn a revenue of ₹1.2 lakh from an acre in four months.

Seed price is fixed at ₹1 and there are 30,000 seeds in one kg. Seeds can be ordered via email and farmers from outside Kerala are also ordering them online.

Kishorkumar N K, a farmer in Varandarappilly in Trichur, maintains that seedless watermelon cultivation is a profitable venture and has uploaded a video on Facebook highlighting the method of farming.

Also see: Agritech start-up launches ready-to-implement micro farms

Though watermelon is the most profitable vegetable crop, its cultivation is limited to certain pockets in the country such as Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, UP and Gujarat.

At present, none of these regions cultivate seedless watermelon. The non-availability of seeds and requirement of pollenisers are limiting factors in popularising the cultivation of seedless watermelon, said Pradeepkumar.

Since it is a high value vegetable suitable for protected cultivation and precision farming, demonstration of production technology under this system with fertigation, mulching and scientific pruning will help popularise cultivation in any commercial farm, high-tech vegetable farmers and export growers, he added.

Published on September 20, 2021

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