Cucumbers21221

Cucumber

Cucumber : Cucumis sativus

Introduction

The cucumber (cucumis sativus) is one of the most important market vegetables in the tropics and it is also the basis of an extensive pickling industry. It is assumed to be a native of the Northern India. In Sri Lanka, cucumber is best eaten sliced as a salad or as an appetizer with other vegetables because of its distinct flavor and texture. This crop can be grown throughout the year in the wet-zone and during Maha season in the dry-zone to an elevation of about 1000 m. The identified districts for cucumber production are Kurunegala, Matale and Hambantota and the potential districts are Puttalam, Colombo, Matara, Badulla, Moneragala, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura.

Nutritive value

The fruit is used as a vegetable or salad. The immature fruit is cooked and given to children for dysentery. The seeds are considered cooling and used as a diuretic.

The edible portion , which is about 80 % of the fruit, contains the following:

Water 95 %
Protein 0.7 %
Fat 0.1 %
Carbohydrates 3.4 %
Fiber 0.4 %
Ash 0.4 %

Recommended Varieties

There is only one recommended variety ‘LY58’ available for cultivation. However, there are few farmer grown varieties that have better consumer acceptance than the Recommended varieties.

Field Establishment

Planting Spacing
I m x 1 m 3-4 seeds per planting hole

Crop Management

Fertilizer
Urea TSP MOH
Basal 75 200 60
Top Dressing-1 75 60
Top Dressing-2 75 60
Major Pests

Major Diseases Downy mildew (Pseudoperonospora cubinsis )
Powdery mildew (Erysiphe cichoracearum)
Soft rot ( Pithium spp)
Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV)

Harvesting & Post-harvest Technology
Peak production months

The peak cucumber production months during the Maha season are January, February and 1st and 2nd weeks of March and that during the Yala season are April, May, June, July and 1st and 2nd weeks of August (DOA Vegetable Task Force Report).

Economics & Marketing
Extent and production

The cultivation extent and the production over Maha and Yala seasons during the period 1990-1998 are presented in the Table.

Cucumber cultivation extent and production during 1990-1998 period
Year Area (ha) Production (t)
Maha Yala Total Maha Yala Total
1990 1,390 950 2,340 17,710 8,120 25,830
1991 1,270 1,030 2,300 10,960 8,130 19,090
1992 1,130 970 2,100 11,320 6,190 17,510
1993 1,120 940 2,060 11,030 7,280 18,310
1994 1,180 970 2,150 9,840 8,000 17,840
1995 1,350 940 2,290 11,330 7,620 18,950
1996 1,270 920 2,190 10,370 7,630 18,000
1997 1,250 1,000 2,250 9,960 8,280 18,240
1998 1,380 1,010 2,390 11,110 7,970 19,080

Source: Department of Census and Statistics.

During this period, the total cultivated extent ranged between 2,060 ha and 2390 ha and the production ranged between 17,510 t and 25,830 t indicating that both the extent and the production did not appreciably change over the 9-year period. It was also evident that the cultivation extent and the production during the Maha season were higher than that during the Yala season probably due to the prevalence of favorable weather conditions during the Maha season compared to that during the Yala season for the crop.

Cucumber production cost for the 1998-2001 period
(Assuming Cost of Production of Rs. 34,600 / ha and Average Producer Price of Rs. 4.00 / kg)
Year Average yield (t /ha) Unit COP (Rs./kg) Net return (Rs./ha)
1998 11,000 3.15 9,400
1999 11,500 3.01 11,400
2000 12,000 2.88 13,400
2001 13,000 2.66 17,400

Source: DOA Vegetable Task Force Report.

However, the projected production cost for the years 2000 and 2001 is Rs. 2.88/kg and Rs 2.66/ kg, respectively indicating that there will be a possibility of reducing production cost through enhancing unit area productivity by adopting appropriate production technologies.

Price fluctuation

Overall, the monthly average wholesale and retail prices did not vary very much with the year. The retail prices were 2-3 times higher than the wholesale prices. Further, the wholesale and the retail prices were high during the lean production period and low during the peak production period in a given year. This produce price fluctuation scenario can be overcome through adopting off-season production and produce storage techniques.

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