MAL launches new Capsicum and Tomato varieties

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MAP PS Jimmy Saelea displayed the newly launched Capsicum.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) on Thursday this week officially recommend and launched a new capsicum and tomato varieties suitable for Solomon Islands’ growing conditions.

The new open pollinated capsicum or green pepper variety is known as MAL – SI/CA/01/17 or MAL Wonder, and the new tomato variety now known as MAL-SI/LE/03/17 or MAL Fresh.

In a statement from the Ministry (MAL) Permanent Secretary Jimi Saelea said, the launching was an outcome of a collaborative research under the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research-funded “Integrated Crop Management (ICM) Project” the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) and the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg).

“The project has undertaken a collaborative research on evaluation of capsicum and tomato varieties over three cropping seasons since 2012.

The newly launched Capsicum. Photos: MAL Media.

“This is the outcome of four years of capsicum and tomato varieties evaluation process,” Mr Saelea said in the statement.

The objective of the field trials was to identify and select the best capsicum and tomato varieties which adapt and perform well under Solomon Islands’ conditions.

“This research work and the efforts of MAL and WorldVeg researchers has paid off, so we have a first open pollinated capsicum variety and a third tomato variety for Solomon Islands’ farmers and growers,” Saelea added.

He said the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and its collaborating agricultural international institutions like the University of Queensland (UQ), Pacific Community (SPC) and World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg) will continue with research endeavors towards building the capacity of our farmers in vegetable crop management and production to sustainably increase vegetable production in Solomon Islands and encourage contributions by the Private Sector towards this worthwhile effort.

“As a government policy objective to carry out research into high value cash crops, this programme is fully in line with DCC Government Policy Objectives,” the MAL PS said.

The statement added that Capsicum and tomato are fruit vegetables that have the potential to improve the nutrition and health of Solomon Islanders as well as income generation.

“Therefore, intensification and safe vegetable production in Solomon Islands can enhance food and nutrition security for our people.

“Farmers are therefore encouraged to take advantage of and utilize these new vegetables for their family’s food security and income generation,” it added.

Mr Saelea on behalf of the Ministry and the DCC government thank the Australian Centre for Agriculture Research (ACIAR) for funding the project, University of Queensland, AVRDC WorldVeg, SPC, and all stakeholders who have participated in this great work.