Okra million hectares and production of 5.50 million

Okra Abelmoschus esculentus (L) Moench iscommonly known as ‘Bhendi’ or lady’s finger and the choicest fruit vegetablegrown extensively in the tropical, sub-tropical and warm area of the temperatezones of the world. It is grown for tender pods and has export potential. Okrabelongs to family Malvaceae (2n=8x=72 or 144) and is polyploid in nature. Thereare 30 species under genus Abelmoschusin the old world and four in the new world.

Out of them Abelmoschus esculentus is the only species known to be cultivatedextensively. Being native of tropical Africa, it is widely cultivated in Indiaand it is largely cultivated area is in Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Orissa,Maharashtra, West Bengal and Karnataka. It is an important vegetable crop forIndian agriculture and grown throughout the year in one or other parts of thecountry with an area of 0.54 million hectares and production of 5.50 milliontonnes with an average productivity of 10.

10 tonnes/ha (NHB, 2015-16). It is cultivated thought-out India for its immaturefruits which are generally cooked as vegetable, but sometimes used in canned ordehydrated form. The fruits are rich source of minerals like calcium,potassium, phosphorous and magnesium. Besides containing different vitamins(Choudhury, 1998) matured fruit and stem contain crude fibre which are used inpaper industry. In some places the seeds are soaked in water and resultingsolution is used as clarifier in the manufacture of juggery. According to Raoet al.

(1992) the whole okra seed contains 15% oil compared with 33% in thekernels alone. The crude oil is refined to yield edible grade oil. The greenfruits are rich in vitamin (A and C) and minerals (Ca, Mg and Fe). Okra seedsare good source of protein and vegetable oil, 20 and 40 percent on dry matterbasis, respectively (Martin and Ruberte, 1978).Yellow vein mosaic virus (YVMV), powdery mildew andfruit borer are known to cause substantial loss in okra yield and quality. Thelow productivity in okra is attributed to lower seed replacement rate due tothe limited availability of quality seed and low seed yield is due to highincidence of pests (jassids, white fly and borers) which severely affects thecrop during the khairf in the north.

A number of high yielding and good quality varietiesare grown in the country. However, the quality seed is always short in supply.There are several reasons behind its low yield. Among them non availability ofquality seed is the fore most one.

Proper growth of plant is required tomaximize seed yield with better quality and it is possible by growing plants ata proper spacing (Rastogi et al., 1987) and date of sowing.Since, seed is the basic and crucial input inagricultural production.

For maintaining continuous supply of high qualityseeds to cultivators, it is essential to produce genetically pure seeds andpreserve the quality of seeds until it’s sowing. The hybrid seed is marketed bythe private sector companies in sizable amount and cover the smaller area.Thus, the larger area is sown through the open pollinated varieties (op) seedacross the country. Thus, to enhance the productivity there is a need todevelop the seed production technology of high yielding and YVMV resistantvariety for higher yield and quality. The seed quality as determined by vigour andviability of the seeds is greatly influenced by the environmental conditions towhich the seed crop is exposed from sowing to seed maturity and harvesting.

Besides environmental factors, seed production in okra is also influenced byplant geometry or spacing. Available reports suggest that planting date playsan important role in plant growth, fruit development, seed yield and itsquality in okra. The early sown crop in rainy season experiences hightemperature and hot winds during their growth period resulting in stuntedgrowth, less number of fruits and reduced seed yield. The late sown cropsencounter high rainfall during flowering and fruit set are more prone to attackby insect-pests and diseases.

Plant density plays an important role in the seedproduction of okra and high seed yield, may be obtained from the densely sowncrop. However, closer spacing in okra especially during rainy season posegreater problems of manual weeding/hoeing by adjusting the row and plantspacing without affecting the yield and quality of seed and therefore theoptimum spacing needs to be worked out.  This could be made possible by organizing the seedproduction of the op varieties the in a compact area/seed village concept whichcan help an improving the seed replacement rate (SRR). Thus, the presentresearch aim is to standardize the seed production technology of okra CV PusaBhindi-5. Pusa Bhendi-5 is a new variety identified in2016 by the IARI Variety Identification Committee. It is a high yielding (18.

0t/ha) variety and resistant to bhendi yellow vein mosaic virus. Pods areattractive dark green colour with 5 ridges, smooth surface and medium in length(10-12 cm). Plants are having 2-3 branches with completely dark green stem andpetiole. Leaves are moderately lobed. This variety is recommended for growingin khairf season (15 June to 15 July sowing) as well as in spring summer (15February to 15 March sowing) season under north Indian condition.

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