A new strain of papaya from PanDia Seeds, distributed by Hi-Pro, has proven to be resistant to the papaya ringspot virus that has been affecting most local crops in recent times. Hi-Pro debuted the first batch of the Apache F1 hybrid papaya from its line of PanDia Seeds at the recently held Hague Agricultural & Industrial Show, Trelawny.
The Apache F1 papaya is a large specimen, weighing between four to seven lb per fruit. The fruit is firm and sweet and, according to Cecil Robe – the farmer who cultivated this first crop – the fruit matured two months in advance of the expected date.
“The seeds were planted in May of 2019 and by the end of February 2020 were ready for reaping,” said Robe.
According to Rohan Lewis, technical sales agronomist at Hi-Pro: “It has high yield under hot, tropical conditions, with extended post-harvest storage life because of its firm flesh. The Apache F1 is significant for farmers' sustainability because of its disease tolerance.”
Being resistant to disease and based on the size of fruit produced, Robe said with marketing and promotion, the new Apache F1 could become a sustainable staple in the hotel industry. “Papaya is widely recognised for being an excellent digestive aid and a key ingredient in fruit smoothies, which are popular at the hotels, so the Apache F1 has very positive implications for this sector,” he continued.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, guest speaker at the Hague Agricultural & Industrial Show and who is a self-professed papaya fan, was presented with an Apache F1 papaya during his tour of the Hi-Pro booth at the event.