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Ministry Releases New Tomato Variety

Ministry Releases New Tomato Variety
Farmers and guest during the tomato field tour at the Sigatoka Research Station. (right) Plants of the Melrose tomato variety.
October 07
10:55 2015

Melrose, a new tomato variety, was released last week for commercial cultivation at the Sigatoka Research Station.

This initiative was made possible through the partnership of the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with World Vegetable Centre and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) under the Australian Centre International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) funded Integrated Crop Management (ICM) Project.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture Joeli Cawaki during the release of the new variety said the onus is now on the growers to produce and supply to the various market.

“Reducing the number of vegetables imports is a priority of the Fijian Government.

“However, replacing these imports with local supply faces a number of challenges and this includes producing quality product in the right quantity and consistency throughout the year,” he said.



Mr Cawaki added: “Research and Development will continue to play an important role in Government’s plan for the long-term sustainability and growth of the Agricultural sector.

Fiji annually imports 300 tonnes of tomatoes with a value of $2.5 million.

However, with the price of the local tomatoes in the market ranges from $1.71/kg in the main season to $4.50 during offseason due to the low local production during off season.



Senior Research Officer (Vegetables) Amena Banuve said the Melrose variety was selected for official release in Fiji, based on its characteristics.

“For 2014, the regular season field trials on station and on farm in the Sigatoka Valley, the marketable yields were 55 tons per hectares and 86 tons per hectares respectively compared to other released varieties.

“One of the physical characteristics that are evident today is that the fruit has a firm texture and is not affected by the birds, which mean it can be harvested fresh from the field,” Mr Banuve said.



In addition the Melrose variety tomato is an open pollinated variety and is resistant to the Tomato mosaic virus.

Tomato farmer Mohammed Faizal Khan who was present at the event said the introduction of the new tomato variety will be a boost to his production and supply because of its characteristics.



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