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Why KAU’s Hybrid Vegetables Are in High Demand Among Farmers?

Superior hybrid varieties of tropical vegetables developed by the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) are much in demand from farmers across the country. The KAU has developed them by exploring low-cost hybrid seed production techniques.

Ayushi Raina
Heera and Shubhra are salad cucumber hybrids that may be grown in both rain shelter and open conditions
Heera and Shubhra are salad cucumber hybrids that may be grown in both rain shelter and open conditions

Superior hybrid tropical vegetable varieties developed by the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) are in high demand among farmers across the country. The KAU has developed them by exploring low-cost hybrid seed manufacturing processes.

The KAU's Department of Vegetable Science at Vellanikkara is developing hybrids by utilizing natural pollination control phenomena.

Hybrid seeds of salad cucumber, seedless watermelon, ridge gourd and brinjal are the most popular among farmers.

Heera and Shubhra are salad cucumber hybrids that may be grown in both rain shelter and open conditions. Pollination is carried out in an ecofriendly manner by bees in female plants from a preferred male line under open conditions. According to T. Pradeepkumar, Head of the Department of Vegetable Science at KAU, the technique, known as gynoecious technology, is used by just a few universities in India.

Increased output

The technology causes hybrids to produce more female flowers, resulting in increased output. A parthenocarpic (fruit developed without fertilization) variety of cucumber cultivar suitable for poly house conditions was also released by the KAU. Prof. Pradeep Kumar stated that the variety, known as KPCH-1, is the first parthenocarpic salad cucumber hybrid from a public sector university to be approved by the Central seeds subcommittee at the national level.

For Poly House

Since natural pollination is not feasible in an enclosed atmosphere, hybrids suitable for poly house should produce fruits without pollination. As a result, private companies charge exorbitant prices for such hybrid seeds. On average, a hybrid cucumber seed from a commercial firm costs $5 per seed, however KAU offers KPCH-1 seeds for just $1 per seed. It is commonly grown not just in Kerala, but also in Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra, according to him.

The seedless yellow-fleshed watermelon hybrid Swarna and the red-fleshed Shonima were well received by the farmers. The yellow hybrid contains high amounts of citrulline and is currently available at only the Department of Vegetable Science, Vellanikkara.

In 2019, Vellanikkara released KRH-1, a ridge gourd hybrid. The CGMS system was used to produce this variety, which is another naturally occurring pollination control phenomenon. Seeds of the high-yielding KRH-1 hybrid can be produced by alternate planting of male and female plants, where pollination will be carried out by bees.

The KAU released Neelima, a hybrid variety of brinjal which is resistant to bacterial wilt. Its most distinctive characteristic is its round violet fruits. Prof. Pradeep kumar stated that a hybrid variety of bitter gourd generated utilizing gynoecious technology is now being tested and would be offered to the public in near future.

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