A team of scientists at the Indian Institute of Himalayan Bio-resource Technology (IHBT) and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CISR) has successfully grown a fruit that was earlier only cultivated in China. Monkfruit (Siraitia grosvenorii) is a highly nutritious and sweet fruit with very low calories. The scientists initiated trial cultivation of the fruit by planting 50 seedlings in Naggar Tehsil in Kullu. The National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, a branch of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, facilitated the import of seeds from China in March 2018. Following this, scientists conducted extensive research weighing various factors such as planting material, cultivation practices, fruition techniques, and post-harvest management.
Sanjay Kumar, IHBT Director, said, “Himachal Pradesh has very suitable agro-climatic conditions (annual mean temperature of 16-20 degrees Celcius. Therefore, it becomes a favourable environment for a plant such as the Monkfruit.” The fruit is native to China and is known as Luohan Guo, named after the monks who cultivated it. However, it is still not feasible for neighboring countries to commercially cultivate the fruit, despite the proximity, due to poor agro-techniques and scientific knowledge, HT Reported.
“Considering the immense importance of non-nutritive natural sweeteners and the diverse agro-climatic conditions in India, we have introduced the seeds in Kullu,” said DrProbir Kumar Pal, Senior Scientist, IHBT, according to daily Pioneer report.
India has the highest number of diabetic people globally and the country is termed as the ‘Diabetes Capital of the World.’ The number is expected to reach a whopping 80 million by the year 2030. For a country such as India, Monkfruit is a wonder fruit. Due to the low calories and sweet taste, it can be considered a healthy alternative to sugar.
This innovative research might help solve the type-2 diabetes problem that may get more troublesome for the Indian population in the coming years. Moreover, if the experimental cultivation culminates in a success, the fruit will be grown and sold commercially in India soon.