Cucurbits contributes nearly 1/3rd of the total vegetables grown in India. This Vegetable family is the largest among vegetables and includes several valuable crops like watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber etc.
Benefits of Bottle gourd
Bottle gourd was less valuable 30-40 years back ago, because of its lesser liked cooked vegetable taste. But, it has many benefits. Its leaves are highly nutritious; the fruit has a high water content, which makes it very good to,
- Prevent Heart disease
- Bring down bad cholesterol levels.
- Reduces Body Temperature
In Juiced form, the gourds can provide fiber to help with weight loss along with Potassium, Folate, Iron, Manganese and Vitamins A, B, C, E and K. In addition, we can use the Shells of matured bottle gourd fruit to make containers, utensils, floats, decorative items and different kinds of Musical instruments.
Prof. Sheo Pujan Singh
Prof. SP Singh who is popularly known as ‘Lauki Purush'(Bottle gourd man) among farmers and fellow scientists was born in Gaura beni, Uttar Pradesh. He pursued an UG degree in Agriculture, and PG and PhD in Plant Breeding from the GB Pant University in Uttarakhand.
In 1987, when Prof. Singh rejoined NDUAT, Faizabad, he was interested in some other important vegetable crops. However, he was asked to research in a group of lesser important cucurbit crops which include Bottle gourd, Pointed gourd, Pumpkin etc..
Prof. SP Singh was retired in 2015 but before that, he developed ten varieties of Bottle gourd, Four varieties of Pumpkins, Three varieties of Pointed gourd and One variety of Bitter gourd. He also written a Book, ‘Cucurbits Biodiversity, Breeding and Production in Uttar Pradesh’.
The variety of Bottle gourd ‘Narendra Shivani’ making news because of its unusual fruit length. Professor “Sheo Pujan Singh”, a faculty member of the Narendra Dev University of Agriculture and Technology(NDUAT), Uttar Pradesh which measures 7-8 feet in Height and 10-15kgs in weight in the year 2007.
The average production of this variety is around 700-800 quintal per hectare. But Prof. SP Singh claims that through proper care, farmers can produce up to 1000 quintals in one Hectare.
Also, the mature full grown dried fruits can be painted into drawing room decorative items and made into a musical instrument. This popular musical instrument sounds almost like the sound which emanates from a conch (shankh).
This ‘Narendra Shivani’ variety of Bottle gourd mainly aims to bring more return income to the farmers cultivating this and also adds up additional income by making of Containers, Utensils, Decorative items and Musical Instruments.