Pumpkin Open Field Day

Rich in vitamin A and high in antioxidants, the pumpkin is a winter squash that deserves attention all year-round. The WorldVeg pumpkin breeding program’s ultimate goal is to offer farmers improved, disease-resistant varieties – and reach more consumers with this nutritious vegetable.

Ratchadaporn Thabchan of Chung Kuan Seed Co. Ltd, with a prime pumpkin specimen.

The World Vegetable Center East and Southeast Asia cucurbit team proudly displayed 190 elite tropical pumpkin lines (S4-S6 generation) of different market segments (based on fruit shape and color) possessing inbuilt tolerance to multiple viruses and powdery mildew during Pumpkin Open Field Day on 22nd January 2020 at the WorldVeg Research and Training Station, Kamphaeng Saen campus, Kasetsart University, Thailand.

Fifty one private seed industry staff including breeders, product development managers, marketing and sales managers, R & D heads and managing directors as well as three staff from the Asia and Pacific Seed Association (APSA), Thailand and 4 staff from the Highland Research and Development Institute (HRDI), Thailand walked the 1.5 hectares of trial fields to examine the pumpkin genetic diversity on display.

Cucurbit breeder Narinder Dhillon demonstrated the unique traits of WorldVeg elite pumpkin lines and F1 hybrids, such as yield potential, tolerance to powdery mildew and multiple viruses, and fruit quality, including attractive fruit color and shapes suitable for various market segments. “This excellent breeding outcome is the result of ten years of painstaking field breeding work by my field team,” said Narinder. The team is led by Assistant Specialists (Plant Breeding) Supornpun Srimat and Suwanne Laenoi.

The WorldVeg global pumpkin breeding program began 10 years ago using 800 heterogeneous genebank accessions of pumpkin originating from 26 countries in Asia, Africa, and South America. Kamphaeng Saen is a hotspot for plant viruses and powdery mildew, which aids in the development of elite pumpkin lines from a diversified pool of landraces by revealing the accessions with resistance. The experimental field was surrounded by multiple virus-susceptible check variety; “infector rows” were also planted in the field.

“This was an impressive display of pumpkin diversity that whets our appetite for more pumpkin research,” said Pepijn Schreinemachers, WorldVeg Enabling Impact and Healthy Diets Flagship Program Leader. “The fields were beautifully arranged and showed clear variation in virus resistance.”

Kasetsart University’s virology team, led by Dr. Orawan Chatchawankanphanich, helped to identify the virus species on the susceptible check variety and also assess the virus pressure in the pumpkin trials.

“It was a great pleasure for me to participate in this important event which was extremely well organized and I am confident that it will bring very positive outcomes for the Center and the partner seed companies,” said Delphine Larrousse, Regional Director, WorldVeg East and Southeast Asia.

Vilas Nagre (left) and Deepak Nagawade (center) from Kalash Seeds discuss pumpkin traits with Narinder Dhillon.

Narinder Dhillon explains the field layout of the pumpkin trial to participants.

Chang Lien Chung (left) and Huang Wan Ci of Clover Seeds discuss a point of interest in the pumpkin field.

Story: Narinder Dhillon Photos: Sorawit Limsiriwat

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What participants said

WorldVeg displayed exciting pumpkin breeding lines which will be useful to our breeding programs. We were lucky to join WorldVeg Pumpkin Open Field Day. We are planning to join the WorldVeg pumpkin breeding project.

Ken-Yen Chen
General Manager – production & research
Chung Kuan Seed Co. Limited, Thailand


We salute your team for organizing a highly effective and wonderful Pumpkin Open Field Day. After evaluating the pumpkin lines in the field, we have decided to join the pumpkin breeding project. I am a vegetable breeder and can well imagine the magnitude of efforts and commitment involved in developing this breeding program. Thanks Dr. Dhillon and your great team!

Hemal Fonseka
Director (R & D), Onesh Agri Private Limited, Sri Lanka


I was impressed to see multiple virus tolerant and powdery mildew tolerant pumpkin lines. We hope to join the pumpkin breeding project.

Usa Duangsong
Clover Seed Company Limited, Hong Kong


I wish to congratulate WorldVeg team for amazing results displayed during the Pumpkin Open Field Day. It was a great opportunity to see several types of pumpkins derived from Asian landraces. Development of multiple resistant pumpkin lines is important in Japan in the future because global warming will create more insect/disease pressure.

Takeshi Hamano
Deputy General Manager, Hokkaido Research Station, Sakata Seed Corporation, Japan


It was a great moment to be a part of the Pumpkin Open Field Day. I could see genetic diversity in the pumpkin breeding material and observed fantastic disease resistant materials for product development for our customers.

Sathit Sukonsawan
Product & Market Development Manager
Advance Seeds Company Limited, Thailand


The output of the WorldVeg pumpkin breeding program will positively impact the seed sector and improve the income of small farmers in Asia. I would like to congratulate this team on this fantastic work.

Kanokwan (May) Chodchoey
Executive Director
Asia and Pacific Seed Alliance (APSA) Limited, Thailand


Thanks for organizing such a wonderful Pumpkin Field Day. I was impressed to see the pumpkin lines resistant to different diseases and viruses. HM Clause is very much interested to join the pumpkin breeding project.

Narendra Kumar Singh
Director, Research & Breeding (Asia)
HM Clause Inc., Thailand


The diversity among the pumpkin lines was impressive, especially the disease resistance. Congratulations to the WorldVeg cucurbit team for making remarkable steps in pumpkin improvement.

Venus Salutan
Senior Manager – cucurbits breeding
East-West Seed, Philippines


It was great to see that WorldVeg pumpkin breeding program has developed a very broad genetic base of pumpkin lines derived from global landraces with inbuilt resistance to virus complex and powdery mildew in different market segments, which will allow pumpkin breeders to move traits of interest to their breeding programs to breed unique pumpkin products in the future.

Prashant Kumar
Senior Cucurbit Breeder
Enza Zaden, India


It was an excellent opportunity for understanding the disease tolerance and other traits of economic interest in WorldVeg pumpkin lines derived from landraces originated from various parts of the world.

Pravin L. Deshmukh
Senior Cucurbit Breeder

I was privileged to participate in WorldVeg Pumpkin Open Field Day. The innovative breeding skills of your team were visible in the field. As a breeder, I was impressed with the diverse pumpkin germplasm tolerant to diseases. The virus pressure in the field was very high, which helped us to distinguish the virus susceptible and tolerant pumpkin lines.

Vilas Nagre
Senior Cucurbit Breeder
Kalash Seeds Private Limited, India