The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has identified Indira Kankoda I (RMF 37), a variety of spine gourd for commercial cultivation in Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Maharashtra.
Known to be beneficial to diabetic people, this will be the first spine gourd variety identified for commercial cultivation.
Spine gourd is a nutritious vegetable crop locally known as Meetha Karela, Khekhsa, Padora and Bhaat Karela, among others, in different regions.
'Newly identified Kankoda or spine gourd variety Indira Kankoda I (RMF 37) is resistant to all major pests. Its green fruits are very attractive, dark green and ready to harvest for vegetable purpose in 75-80 days from seeds in the first year and 35-40 days from tubers from second year onwards up to five-six years,' ICAR said in a statement Tuesday.
The crop is popular among the farmers due to its nutritional value and its shelf life. If Kankoda seeds are once sown in the field, tubers sprout at the onset of monsoon every year. A good green yield can be harvested every year and up to five-six years from the same tubers or plants.
Consumption of spine gourd activates the pancreas and controls the level of sugar. Its green fruits contain 12-14 percent protein.
The Indira Kankoda I (RMF 37) variety has been developed by RMD College of Agriculture and Research Station of Indira Gandhi Agricultural University in Ambikapur of Chhattisgarh.