MMSU recommends off season tomato

MMSU recommends off season tomato

Three new tomato hybrids developed by researchers from the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) offer excellent opportunities to Ilocos farmers to venture into profitable tomato production during the off-season.
The developed hybrids are high yielding early maturing and tolerant to the very humid conditions during wet seasons in the Ilocos region. The fruits are juicy, sour, and have round and deep oblate shapes, qualities that are preferred by locals consumers.

The three MMSU hybrids (hybrids 1, 2, and 3) were developedin a five year study by MMSU researchers – Marylis Nalundasn, Rolando C. Ruguian and Victor V. Alpuerto of Monsanto Philippines, inc.

Hybrids 1, 2, and 3 were selected among 21 fresh market F1 tomato hybrids that were evaluated against eight open-pollinated varieties during the we season for five years. In a follow up , two year study, the economics of growing tomatoes and producing tomato seeds was also evaluated. Results showed the three hybrids out-yielded the open-pollinated varieties during the wet season. Hybrid 1,2, and 3 provided a net income of 312,145 pesos per hectare compared to 34,845 with the open-pollinated varieties. Tomato hybrid seed production was also profitable . For 1000 square meter area, 26,410 g of seed could be produced giving a net income of 65,435 pesos.

The MMSU tomato hybrids ere developed from the native tomato cultivar. The native cultivar is tolerant to leaf diseases and excessive moisture. It could easily recover from typhoon damage provided the soil is not waterlogged. Local consumers prefer the native tomatoes because of their sour and succulent fruits. Thus, it is priced higher than the other varieties.

However, the native tomato has negative attributes – undesirable shape, susceptibility to cracking and short shelf-life of the fruits. Through hybridization of the native cultivar with other genotypes the negative characteristics of the native cultivar were improved and the better characteristics were maintained in the new lines.

Most farmers plant tomatoes during the dry season after rice is harvested. They seldom grow tomatoes during the wet season because the native and open pollinated varieties are low yielding due to excessive flower drop and abortion caused by the hot-wet condition during the wet season.

Planting tiem is November to December while the bulk of the produce is sold at the market from February to march. Abundant supply of tomatoes during these months results to a cheaper price at less than 5 per kilo. With the introduction of the new hybrids, farmers can now grow tomatoes during wet seasons and they can sell their produce at a much higher price – a lucrative business option for any Ilocos farmer.

Source: BAR TODAY April June 2001,Junelyn S de la Rosa

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