KUNDOL: A Neglected Crop In The Philippines

TOM BRILLO of East-West Seed Philippines holding a
7-kilo wax gourd at the Talad Thai Market north of Bangkok.
Note the big pile of wax gourd in the wholesale market.

Kundol or wax gourd is an old fruit vegetable in the Philippines but it remains a very minor and neglected crop. There is need to promote the growing of this vegetable both in backyards as well as in commercial scale.

Kundol growing and consumption should be promoted for a number of good reasons. Simple dishes could be prepared with very little expense, yet delicious and tasty. One old dish we remember in the Ilocos which is not common now is to cook thinly sliced kundol with  pieces of native chicken and sotanghon with just enough broth. For variation kundol could be prepared into a soupy dish. Of course there are some other ways of preparing.

The kundol is also used for making sweets. The good thing about kundol is that the fruits are big and a lot of sweets could be produced with just one fruit.

Kundol is easy to grow. They are high-yielding, too. We have seen some at the International Field Day at the Simon N. Groot Research Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand recently. And the good thing is that improved varieties are being developed by seed companies like East-West Seed.

We met Ing-Orn Srikubua at the International Field Day where she attended to visitors in the wax gourd section of the demo farm. She said that they have developed a cylindrical variety for the Thai market whereas another type with round fruits was developed for the Indian market. Both are high-yielding and resistant to diseases.

The good thing about kundol is that the fruits can be stored for months under ordinary conditions. That is why it is also a favorite in Taiwan where they have winter. They call the kundol winter gourd because that’s what is most available during the winter months.

At the 30th anniversary celebration of East-West Seed in Bulacan last December, we saw a showcase of prolific kundol at the demo farm. To this day, we have been wondering why farmers are not producing more kundol. It could be a money-maker even for the small-scale growers. Big-volume producers could also encourage more processors to do value-adding to the neglected kundol fruit.

Ing-Orn Srikubua posing with
East-West’s wax gourd variety
for the Thai market. Each fruit
is relatively small, cylindrical
and weighing 3-4 kilos each.

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