With Indian consumers becoming more health-conscious, fruit consumption is on the rise and there is a growing appetite for nutritious and exotic fruit varieties. At Bayer, we are constantly innovating to offer consumers more choice and support farmers with better yields. With our newly launched yellow watermelon – a first of its kind in India, you can now enjoy a more colourful spread at your next soiree. It is sure to enhance both your plate and your palate.
Most of us associate watermelons with a bright red colour interspersed with black seeds. As one of the most affordable fruits, it is a staple in Indian households, especially in summer and is relished by all - small children, teenagers, adults as well as the elderly. It’s also a wonderful alternative for those trying to watch their weight - keeps the body hydrated and helps control cravings in between meals. But for those looking to spruce up their culinary spreads with more colours and a variety of nutrients, here’s a new variety of watermelon called ‘Yellow Gold 48’ recently launched under Bayer’s Seminis® brand of high-yielding vegetable seeds.
For those of us used to the red variety of watermelons, the yellow variety promises to provide a sensory delight and greater choice. Besides the novel yellow-coloured flesh, the yellow watermelon has a distinct, sweet, honey-like flavour. Nutritionally, it amounts to about 46 calories per cup – almost the same nutritional value offered by red watermelons. While a red watermelon contains lycopene - which is responsible for the reddish colour in fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, the yellow watermelon contains beta-carotene - an antioxidant found in colourful fruits & vegetables. The yellow watermelon weighs around 3 kgs - a size that is preferred by nuclear families as it can be consumed in a single serve. The compact size is also perfect for storing it comfortably in the refrigerator.
In addition to benefiting consumers, the high yield and income potential of yellow watermelons will empower Indian growers to diversify into new categories and meet the rising demand for exotic fruits. Although the ‘Yellow Gold 48’ has been launched by Bayer after several years of global research & development using modern breeding techniques and superior germplasm, the yellow watermelon has been no stranger to our ancestors. In fact, it was first grown in Africa around 5,000 years ago. But generations of selective cross-breeding for texture, colour and sweetness, resulted in a larger availability of the red watermelon as compared to the yellow variety. But both - red and yellow watermelons are tasty and pretty on the plate.
After two years of trials, Bayer’s new yellow watermelon was successfully cultivated by Indian farmers in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. With this new variety, watermelon growers can now benefit from a uniform fruit size, which gives enhanced yield potential, better disease tolerance and higher returns. It has a thicker rind enabling a longer shelf-life and reducing potential losses from damage during transportation from farms to markets.
“I have been growing red watermelons for over ten years now, but when I heard of the yellow watermelon variety from Bayer, I decided to grow it and see for myself. I cultivated the new variety in three acres of my land and was delighted from the results of my first harvest. The fruit was firm, fleshy and distinctly sweet. This innovation is a win-win for growers as well as consumers.
A fruit grower from Kalaburagi, Karnataka
For farmers like Basavaraj Patil, cultivating new varieties such as the yellow watermelon has helped them realise 30% higher returns on their produce. Basavaraj’s success with yellow watermelons also caught the attention of Indian media publications who featured his story. Read his story in NDTV Food here.
When and where can you find it?
When and where can you find it? Our new yellow watermelon variety is best suited for cultivation from October to February and for harvest from April onwards. That means you can indulge in your favourite fruit all summer from April till around mid-July. Currently, it is available in local fruit markets and select modern retail stores in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. To differentiate our yellow watermelon variety from the traditional red ones, we have added a peelable sticker to the fruit with the Bayer and ‘Seminis®Yellow Gold 48’ logos. This will help create clear distinction and offer authentic produce to consumers. Going forward, we will look at expanding market linkages, distribution, and availability of our yellow watermelon.
Did you know?
We have around 170 varieties of fruits & vegetable seeds under Bayer’s Seminis® brand in India.
Melon varieties from Seminis®
We offer a total of five watermelon varieties in India under the Seminis® brand. In 2021, we also launched ‘Crimson B32’, a red watermelon variety which comes with fewer seeds and an oblong shape. Both varieties have seen good acceptance from growers along with higher yields and better disease tolerance, leading to higher returns for farmers.
With 2021 dedicated as the International Year of Fruits & Vegetables by United National General Assembly, we are helping create awareness about the nutritional and health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption. In addition, we are strengthening the role of smallholder farmers in sustainable farming practices and are addressing the high levels of food loss and waste in fruit and vegetable supply chains.