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Colombia: Pumpkins feed the processing industry

Pumpkin production volumes have increased in Colombia due to their versatility, both for direct consumption and for their use as raw goods by the agricultural processing industry. This tropical vegetable is said to be highly nutritional, as it contains pro-vitamin A, vitamin C, minerals and amino acids.

The most current production reports "indicate that the acreage devoted to this cucurbit in 2012 was of 3,411 hectares, with a yield of 19.8 tonnes per hectare," according to the researcher of the National University, Magda Piedad Valdés.

Advances are currently being made in the production of genetically improved pumpkins, which is why researchers are moving their focus to seeds.

"We have managed to increase the amount of dry matter in the fruits. A pumpkin normally contains between 8 and 10% of dry matter, which has been increased to up to 25% and with a high content of carotenes," stated Valdés.

For his part, the associate professor of Colombia's National University, Sanín Ortiz, explained that the genetic improvement of pumpkins is one of the best alternatives for Colombia's horticultural sector. "The new crops respond to the country's needs and expectations and contribute to its agricultural development."

Additionally, he stressed that, in order to improve the production, drop irrigation technology is being used, which prevents undesired plants from growing next to the crops. This irrigation system, according to Ortiz, is a key aspect, as the plant is normally cultivated in arid regions.


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