India’s first monk fruit cultivation begins in Kullu, H.P

Cultivation of ‘monk fruit’ from China has started in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh. The fruit was introduced for field trials in Himachal Pradesh by Palampur-based Council of Scientific Research and Industrial Technology-Institute of Himalayan Bio-resource Technology (CSIR-IHBT).

Key Points

  • Monk fruit is known for its properties as non-caloric natural sweetener.
  • Field trials have begun three years after CSIR-IHBT imported its seeds from China and grew it in house.
  • Fifty seedlings of fruit were planted in fields of a farmer from Raison village for field trials and a ‘Material Transfer Agreement’ was signed with the farmer.
  • Economic benefits of new crop are estimated to be between Rs 3 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh per hectare.
  • Flowering pattern, pollination behaviour and fruit setting time were also documented in order to draw complete life-cycle of monk fruit in agro-climatic conditions of the region.

Conditions for cultivation of Monk fruit

Monk fruit is “a perennial crop”. It is having a life span of four to five years. Fruiting on this crop starts eight to nine months after germination. It prefers mountainous area having annual mean temperature of 16–20 °C and humid conditions.


Monk Fruit took its name from Buddhist monks who first used it. During the 20th century, Professor G W Groff had also made an unsuccessful attempt to grow Monk plant because flowers did not appear.

Seed Germination Rate

Seed germination rate of monk fruit is slow and low. Thus, seed germination technique has been developed by CSIR-IHBT to increase germination rate and reduce germination time. Institute also developed planting method and standardised planting time. Method for generation of characterised planting material was also developed.

About monk fruit

Monk fruit (siraitia grosvenorii), is known for its intensely sweet taste. It is used as a non-caloric natural sweetener. The sweet taste of monk fruit is because of content of group of cucurbitane-type triterpene glycosides called mogrosides.




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