Costa Rican scientists announced this past Wednesday, the launch of three varieties of papaya seed. These will be delivered to the country’s producers so they can start planting.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) pointed out that, thanks to the genetic modifications that the Ticos managed to make, two of these new varieties reduce production costs for farmers. The work was carried out by professionals from the University of Costa Rica and the National Institute for Innovation and Transfer of Agricultural Technology (INTA).
When the farmers sow the seed they do not know if the plant that will grow will bear fruit or not. Over time they identify the ones that won’t and discard them. This represents a loss of resources, time and space to plant.
The other plants continue their process waiting for the papaya to be ready to cut. These plants that bear fruit are called hermaphrodites, because they themselves achieve fertilization without the need for another plant.
“At the time of sowing, only one plant is used and neither sexing nor thinning (when the number of plants has to be reduced) has to be done,” explained the MAG. Two of the new open-pollinated papaya varieties are 95% hermaphroditic. These are: INTA-UCR 6514 and INTA-UCR 1785 (Suerre).
“We trust that these new productive options represent an opportunity for economic reactivation for those who are dedicated to this activity,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Renato Alvarado.
Papaya for individual consumption
The Suerre variety is described as a small fruit for individual consumption. The fruit of this seed has an approximate weight of half a kilogram, good firmness, little cavity, thick pulp, orange color and good sweetness. “It is a fruit that can be marketed at farmer’s fairs and supermarkets,” reported the MAG.
The other two varieties (INTA-UCR 6514 and INTA-UCR-H39) are more suitable for industry. They have characteristics such as greater weight and color between orange and red. The first of these can be used for processing, while the second is recommended for hash.
The same work between the UCR and INTA since 1999 allowed that in 2006 the Pococí variety (Perfect Papaya), which is the most consumed among Costa Ricans, was released to the country’s farmers.