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Objectives of Okra Breeding

Okra, also known as lady’s finger, bhindi, gumbo, etc., is a seed propagated hot weather crop sensitive to frost, low temperature (below I5°C), water-log­ ging as well as drought conditions. It is grown in tropical and sub-tropical re­ gions and also in warmer parts o f temperate regions. The crop thrives well under hot humid climate. Best plant growth and fruiting is observed at around 25°C average temperatures with high relative humidity (65-85%). Seed ger­ mination is fast at 30-35°C temperatures. Temperatures lower than 25°C slow down germination while above 42°C slow down plant and fruit growth and cause drying/desiccation and dropping of flower buds. The immature fruits are cooked as vegetable. The fruits are fairly good in nutritive value and 100 g consumable portion contains 10.4 g dry matter, 3100 calorie energy, 1.8 g pro­ tein, 90 mg calcium, 1.0 mg iron, 0.1 mg carotene, 0.07 mg thiamin, 0.08 mg riboflavin and niacin, and 18 mg vitamin C, with almost comparable constitu­ ents, barring few, in leaves (Grubben, 1977). In Far-East countries, a form of Abelmoschus ssp. is used as leafy vegetable. Dry fruit shell and stem are used in the manufacture of paper and cardboard. Dry seed kernels of okra contain 13-22% edible oil and 20-24% edible protein and may be used as a substitute for edible oil. Dehydrated and frozen fruits are also marketed for off-season consumption.