Agri Business

Kerala agri varsity develops a new hybrid variety of salad cucumber

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on September 07, 2020

KPCH-1, suitable for polyhouse cultivation, comes at an affordable cost of ₹1 per seed

Salad cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is a nutritional ingredient in raw or cooked vegetables served with lunch or dinner. It is a versatile crop for growing either under open condition, shaded situation or protected cultivation under shade-net or poly-house.

While normal cucumber type suitable for growing under open condition produce both male and female flowers, these Parthenocarpic hybrids suitable for growing under poly-houses produce only female flowers and all these flowers develop into fruits without pollination.

However, commercial production of Parthenocarpic cucumber hybrids carried out in the corporate sector through greenhouses has made the seeds dearer to farmers with its price ranging between ₹4 and ₹6 per seed, says T Pradeepkumar, Head of Department of Vegetable Science, Kerala Agricultural University (KAU).

Polyhouse cultivation

To make it a profitable agri-venture, he said KAU has introduced a new hybrid variety — KAU Parthenocarpic Cucumber Hybrid-1(KPCH-1) — suitable for poly-house cultivation. The breeding lines generated by KAU could make available fruits at an affordable cost of ₹1 per seed.

According to him, the newly-developed cucumber is ideally suited for poly-house cultivation, as the fruit is harvested in immature stage and vertical height of the poly-house structure can be utilised for the production of more number of fruiting nodes.

Costs and Returns

In India, cucumber is grown over three lakh hectares with a market value of ₹60 crore for seeds both hybrid and normal. The Parthenocarpic cucumber hybrid is specialty segment and its profitability has attracted many young farmers to go for its cultivation. A 10 cent poly-house can yield five tonnes with a return of ₹3 lakh in four months at a selling price of ₹60 per kg, Pradeepkumar added.

KPCH-1 was developed by the University with a focused breeding programme in 2011. It was notified for Kerala by the Central Seed Committee in 2019. This is the only public sector hybrid in Parthenocarpic cucumber hybrids notified in India.

These new cucumber hybrids are now the most sought-after variety of farmers in Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Many upcountry farmers have already started online procurement of seeds from KAU.

Besides, the agricultural universities in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Karnataka have already conducted trials with this hybrid variety and found it to be superior to commercial hybrids in the private sector, Pradeepkumar said.

Published on September 07, 2020

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