Scientists at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) have developed two new varieties of watermelon that can produce seeds in the country.
The two varieties were developed by a joint effort of BARI's Olericulture Division and Regional Horticultural Research Center, Lebukhali, Patuakhali.
Invented from pure lines collected from different parts of the country, these two OP (open pollinated) varieties have yellow inside one (fleshy part) and bright red inside the other. They said that these two varieties will be released soon through registration.
Executive Chairman of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council Dr Sheikh Mohammad Bakhtiar and Director General of BARI Dr Md Nazirul Islam visited the research field of these two varieties on Monday (September 21). BARI Director (Research) Dr Md Miaruddin, Director (Planning and Evaluation) Dr Md Kamrul Hasan, Director (Training and Communication) Dr Muhammad Samsul Alam, Chief Scientific Officer of the Olericulture Division Dr Ferdousi Islam, scientists and officials of different divisions including scientists involved in breeding were present at the time.
According to BARI scientists, almost all the high quality watermelons available in our country in summer are produced from hybrid seeds imported from Japan or other countries like China, As a result, a lot of foreign exchange has to be spent every year for importing watermelon seeds. Besides, the farmers are deceived as the purity and germination rate of the seeds of these varieties are not always right. But farmers will be able to produce seeds themselves from the two varieties invented by BARI.
Their yield, shape, taste and sweetness are better than the conventional Japanese hybrids. Besides, these two varieties are non-seasonal varieties suitable for the climate of Bangladesh, so the farmers will benefit more from here. They hoped that the launch of the hybrid variety would save huge foreign exchange for seed imports and open up a new horizon for watermelon production in the country.