A new hybrid pumpkin developed by East-West Seed is becoming a favorite of Sri Lankan farmers, reported Ric Reyes, who has been visiting farmers in different countries growing E-W hybrids. Reyes is the global product and market combination manager of the company.

The new hybrid is Rajah F1, which produces fruits with blotched dark green skin when not fully mature; it turns brown when fully mature. Average size is 3 to 5 kilos per fruit. Farmers claim that the new hybrid is high-yielding and with excellent eating quality. They have also observed it to be resistant to squash leaf curl virus, zucchini yellow mosaic virus, and papaya ring spot virus.

Rajah is a welcome replacement for Suprema, the first pumpkin hybrid produced by East-West, which was renamed Arjuna in Sri Lanka. For more than 30 years, Suprema was the No. 1 choice of farmers in the Philippines and other countries. After all those long years, however, Arjuna has become susceptible to virus diseases.

In a taste test in Sri Lanka, Rajah emerged No.1, according to Ric. It is a favorite for cooking pumpkin curry. Because of its excellent eating quality, fruits command 15 rupees higher per kilo than the other varieties in the market.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s May 2018 issue.