Thar's Friend
Down To Earth|December 01, 2019
MEET TINY MELON KACHRI WHICH TURNS SHORT OF GOLD UPON DRYING AND CHANGES THE FATE OF ALL THOSE ASSOCIATED WITH IT
AAKRITI SRIVASTAVA
IT’S THE quintessential multi-utility food. On the surface, the small brown, green and yellow melon with striations resembles a fruit. But people mostly use kachri as a vegetable or convert it into a traditional spice that adds tanginess to Rajasthani cuisine.

Strolling through farmlands in the state, one can easily find the vines of kachri or Cucumis callosus snaking along roadsides or amid crops. Being a drought-tolerant crop that is capable of thriving in hot and water-stressed regions, the tiny melon often grows on its own and farmers find it nothing short of pure gold. In Jhadeli village of Nagaur district, Sahi Ram is an organic farmer who has been growing kachri for close to 20 years, along with jowar (sorghum), bajra (pearl millet) and guar (cluster bean) on 2 hectares. Growing the crop does not involve much effort or resources. Farmers usually dry and store the seeds to be sown the following year. This practice keeps the production cost low, he says.

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