The growing popularity of the cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana L.) in gastronomy has aroused the interest of producers in Argentina, where it is not yet grown commercially. Due to this fruit's export potential, the National Institute of Agricultural Technology INTA and the Faculty of Agronomy of the UBA (FAUBA) have conducted a study in the province of Tucuman to evaluate different aspects of its cultivation, concluding that cape gooseberry represents a great alternative to diversify fruit and vegetable production in the region.
“Cape gooseberry is a herbaceous plant that can reach up to two meters high. It is a relative of tomato and eggplant. Cape gooseberry has a high content of provitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, iron, phosphorus, and antioxidants. In addition, it has a great capacity to adapt to various climatic conditions. Since northern Argentina is the center of origin of some species of the Physalis genus, such as P. pubescens, or tomatillo, we wanted to analyze whether cape gooseberry had productive potential in Tucumán and fill the void of information about its production,” stated Rolando Jose Quiroga, a professional of INTA Famailla.
Quiroga highlighted that the study had generated novel information on how the crop develops, how long its stages last, and when it should be sown to obtain better quality and yields. “Very good yields were achieved, up to 3,500 kg per hectare and quality suitable for export. As a reference, Colombia, which is the main producer of cape gooseberry, produces up to 14,000 kg per hectare, while Chile and Brazil can produce up to 6,000 kg.”
The study also included research on the pests and diseases that attack this crop. The Heliothis sp. moth has caused the most damage to cape gooseberry. The negative effects exceeded 20% of production. Meanwhile, the Fusarium sp. pathogen caused the decay of large numbers of plants. It is a very common mushroom genus in many crops and is responsible for large productivity losses.