WHY IN NEWS?
Cultivation of ‘monk fruit’ from China has started in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh. The fruit was introduced for field trials in Himachal Pradesh by Palampur-based Council of Scientific Research and Industrial Technology-Institute of Himalayan Bio-resource Technology (CSIR-IHBT).
- Monk fruit is known for its properties as non-caloric natural sweetener.
- Field trials have begun three years after CSIR-IHBT imported its seeds from China and grew it in house.
- Fifty seedlings of fruit were planted in fields of a farmer from Raison village for field trials and a ‘Material Transfer Agreement’ was signed with the farmer.
- Economic benefits of new crop are estimated to be between Rs 3 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh per hectare.
- Flowering pattern, pollination behaviour and fruit setting time were also documented in order to draw complete life-cycle of monk fruit in agro-climatic conditions of the region