CCM International: How vast is the planting area of bitter gourd in South China?Meng Lei: The planting area of bitter gourd is not fixed, generally fluctuating with the changes of bitter gourd price and consumption habits in local areas. As far as we know, the total planting areaof bitter gourd in Guangdong maintains around 20,000 ha. each year; Guangxi and Hainan wouldtotally have 13,000 to 20,000 ha. of bitter gourd planting fields.CCM International: What about the major planting distributions of bitter gourd in South China?Meng Lei: Nearly all key vegetable counties in the three provinces or regions of South China havebitter gourd planting fields more or less. In Guangdong, bitter gourd planting is mainly concentratedin Jiangmen, Dongguan, Huizhou, Shanwei, Yufu, etc.; in Guangxi, it is mainly concentrated inNanning, Guilin, Liuzhou, etc. Bitter gourd is widely planted in Hainan but the total planting area isrelatively small and the multiple cropping index is relatively high in Hainan, compared with that inGuangdong and Guangxi.CCM International: Can you introduce some prominent varieties of bitter gourd in South China?Meng Lei: In South China, most varieties of long-oil bitter gourd are bred by VRI, GDAAS, such asthe representative variety "Fenglv" (
) which once held half of bitter gourd planting fields inGuangdong. As for pearl bitter gourd, various excellent varieties have been bred or introduced by anumber of units such as Known-You Seed Co., Ltd. (Known-You), Shantou Jinhan Seed Co., Ltd.(Shantou Jinhan), Guangdong Provincial Improved Variety Introduce Service Corporation(GPIVISC), etc., with some representative varieties like "Black Pearl" (
), "Cuifei" (
), etc. The intermediate type of bitter gourd generally has a small market share inSouth China, only planted in some areas. Coniform bitter gourd is also mainly concentrated insome areas of South China like Jiangmen City of Guangdong Province, with some representativevarieties like "Yuhe" (
) and "Cuilv 3" (
).CCM International: Which varieties of bitter gourd do farmers prefer to plant in South China?Meng Lei: Farmers like to plant those bitter gourd varieties which can bear fruits with higher sellingprice in market. It is sure that the fruit prices of winter-planting and early-maturing bitter gourdvarieties are generally higher than those of common varieties, and thus many farmers prefer toplant winter-planting and early-maturing bitter gourd. Moreover, the bitter gourd varieties with highyield, good appearance and nice quality are also well recognized by farmers in South China. Asmentioned above, pearl bitter gourd with better quality is quite popular among farmers, comparedwith other bitter gourd varieties.