From the Archives
of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
A New Pawpaw
A new variety of red papaya that could revolutionise the Far North
Queensland industry is expected to be available for commercial
production by the end of 2002.
The Department of Primary
Industries has commenced twelve commercial trials of the new variety in
the Mareeba and Innisfail districts in conjunction with local growers.
believe that - if the commercial trials fulfil the initial promise -
the variety has shown red papaya production could increase by as much
as 20 per cent.
"The new variety has been named NT Red and it's
characterised by being a red-fleshed and sweet tasting bisexual variety
that has a high yield rate of larger, more uniformed-sized fruit. In
addition, it can be grown from self-pollinated seed," Horticultural
Extension Officer James Dunn said.
researchers from the DPI's innovation arm, the Agency for Food and
Fibre Sciences, "chanced upon" NT Red while conducting a longer term
While the trial part of the long-term research
project has had to be abandoned due to the presence of a severe root
disease in the plants, five months of harvest data was enough to
indicate to researchers the potential of one of the varieties.
were conducting a longer-term variety trial and we put in 10 parents
that we thought would be suitable to produce offspring that could be
monitored." Mr Dunn said.
"During the course of this trial we
were lucky enough to find this new variety, which after only five
months of harvest data, out-yielded Sunrise Solo - the main commercial
variety of red papaya - by a significant margin."
In addition to
producing a more consistent size and shape of fruit, NT Red
demonstrates a similar texture and taste to Sunrise Solo, despite
slightly lower sugar levels.
"The fruit has a similar shelf life
to Sunrise Solo with an average of ten days from harvest to full
ripeness. No differences were noticed between NT Red and Sunrise Solo
in disease or pest susceptibility," Mr Dunn said.
Returns to growers are also expected to be higher than Sunrise Solo,
due to the increased yield rate of NT Red.