The UCR participated in a linking process with the business sector, to produce a variety of papaya called Pococí, of great flavor, adapted to the environmental conditions of the country and with export characteristics.
“Pococí papaya was marketed in the country several years ago; However, their sowing was only from seeds, which had to go through a selection process to obtain hermaphrodite plants, which are the ones that produce those fruits. This process based on seeds, makes production more expensive and has the implication that the producer is wasting land by discarding plants that are not hermaphroditic,” explained Lilliana Rojas, Proinnova’s innovation manager.
The development of an in vitro protocol to obtain hermaphrodite plants of the papaya variety Pococí was product of the work of the Plant Biotechnology Laboratory of the Center for Agronomic Research of the UCR, and was licensed to two national companies to produce and provide this material to national producers throughout the country.
The innovation manager explained that the greatest success has been to provide producers with a 100% hermaphrodite plant of the Pococí variety, because it is the most planted for national consumption and exportation, which leads to a reduction in production costs and an increase in productivity.
“The joint work we have achieved with the two companies has been very valuable, as they are committed to providing producers with excellent quality plants and recognize the intellectual contribution of the UCR in this technology, first by generating some years ago a variety of papaya with export quality and, now, biotechnology to improve efficiency in the national production of papaya, “added the expert.
One of these companies is Micro Plants, which has already been working with a number of farmers in the testing of hermaphrodite plants; “When it comes from the UCR we know that we have an excellent source of innovation, producing these hermaphroditic plants was a great idea, because it reduces the investment and costs for the producers, being a multiplication of plants in vitro. The support of the university in these initiatives is essential, because they are in charge of the research and from the private sector we are in charge of scaling the projects, it is a mutual aid “, detailed Franklin Morera of the company Microplantas.
According to Morera under a normal process of production, the flowering of the plant takes ten to twelve weeks, while with the in vitro it is possible in six weeks. In addition, fruit set usually takes three or four months, while the variety produced by the UCR takes between two-three months.
On the other hand, to obtain the first harvest it is necessary to wait for about nine months, but with the hermaphroditic plant this occurs in a period of seven to eight months. The plants are more precocious, with thicker stems and the first flower has a fruit set (in perfect condition) and without deformations, which gives a greater uniformity in the field.
Alberto Cerdas is a producer from the Parrita area and a member of CoopeParrita, he has used the hermaphrodite plant as a pilot project of the company Microplantas, with the aim of seeing what results its use generates.
As noted, the sticks of this hermaphrodite plant are better anchored and their fruits are of the same size, in addition, they bring the same amount of papayas per stick, taking into account that they were planted one month later than the traditional plants.
Another positive element that Cerdas has observed is that the first flowering fruit flat curdles well, with good formation; while with the other plants a lot of fruit is lost in the first floor, because it is deformed or has no fruit.
For the papaya producer, these are very positive points and he is considering including half a hectare of production of this plant for next year and start producing commercially, because so far he has done it only experimentally, with 50 sticks.
“It could bring great benefits, especially economics, because it would allow us to lower costs, from the moment I bought the plant in the nursery, because to leave a planting point I need four sticks, with the clones I would only need one. Of course, you have to have many controls because if an insect invades it and eats the clone plant it would end with that stick, “Cerdas rescued.
María Nuñez Chacón