The demand of melon consumption increases every year. Given the relatively high economic value, farmers in Indonesia have conducted melon cultivation in various regions. Unfortunately, to obtain the melon seed, farmers still have to get imported seeds with a relatively expensive price. This condition makes melon plant breeding necessary to be done.
"Melon plant breeding can produce superior local melon cultivars and can compete with other melon cultivars from abroad," explained melons researcher from the UGM Faculty of Biology, Dr.Budi Setiadi Daryono, M.Agr.Sc, in the Workshop “Melon Cultivation in the Framework of Strengthening National Seed Industry”, Saturday (26/11).
According to Budi, melon plant breeding development in Indonesia has started to produced superior local cultivars and have selling points in the community. Types of prospective local cultivars to be developed among others are Melody Gama, Gama-1 and Melon Basket cultivars, which have been developed by UGM. Melody Gama-1 cultivar as new cultivar has advantages such as its resistance to powdery mildew disease attacks that is caused by Podosphaera xanthii and Kyuri green mottle mosaic virus (KGMMV) that often affect melon crops in Indonesia.
"In addition, the Melody Gama-1 cultivar which has a globular shape has a relatively short harvest time (55-57 DAT) with an average fruit weight of 1.7 to 2.0 kg," said Budi.
Meanwhile, Gama Melon Basket cultivar besides its resistance to diseases and pest attacks also has a sweet taste, containing relatively high levels of beta-carotene and provitamin A, thus good for the eyes and skin. Another potential in the two cultivars are its good quality because it has high viability.
Both cultivar seeds are planned to be released at a more affordable price than imported seed so that farmers can reduce production costs. Both cultivars, Budi added, are also able to be planted in different locations and at different seasons (dry and wet) with optimal care.
"Later, the purchase price of fungicides and insecticides can be more efficient because it is a cultivar that is relatively resistant to pests and diseases," said Budi as a researcher.
At the same time Head of Department of Agriculture of the Yogyakarta Province, Ir. Nanang Suwandi, MMA, said the melons with some other vegetables was known in Yogyakarta in 1985, introduced by the Taiwan technical mission team (ROCATM). The type that initially introduced was Melon Sky Rocket. Nanang explained some of the reasons underlying the development of melon in Yogyakarta is because melon is favored by the community, and has promising economic values and benefits, while markets are still open.
"We also know that melon fruit seems to be an "essential" fruit to be presented in each hotel along with papaya and pineapple," said Nanang.
Particularly about the strengthening of seed systems, most melon farmers use hybrid seeds with Sakata and Action varieties. While the development centers in Yogyakarta focus on the four districts, namely Kulonprogo, Gunungkidul, Sleman and Bantul.