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De Beer Z.C.,ARC Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops | Sigawa A.,Mabhovo EBP
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2010

The banana (Musa spp.) cultivars grown in the rural areas of South Africa are 'Pisang Awak' (ABB genome) (70%) and 'Cavendish' (AAA genome) (30%) in contrast to only 'Cavendish' in the commercial banana growing areas. 'Pisang Awak' is a hardy banana cultivar that is currently not grown for commercial purposes but as a domestic fruit for home use on small plots and as a fencing shrub. It does not seem to require expert commercial farming skills to cultivate and requires very little in terms of care as compared to established banana cultivars currently on the market. This makes it ideal for exploitation as a commercial crop by rural communities in these areas. However, until recently, this potential was overlooked and fruit was mostly wasted. Since the establishment of a banana-juice factory by the University of Johannesburg in 2005 in White River, South Africa, this cultivar is generating an income. Although 'Pisang Awak' is a low-yielding cultivar, it is a very good juice banana and up to 50% juice concentrate is extracted from the fruit in comparison to the 15% juice from 'Cavendish'. This project is aiming to evaluate several high-yielding juice bananas including hybrids from Honduras and to supply farmers with plants in two rural banana growing areas. Technology transfer on banana production is being done to cooperatives in selected areas and transport of fruit to ripening rooms and factories is being established. In a later stage, a packhouse will be built. This industry can be expanded significantly as the market for banana juice exists and is hardly exploited by the present juice production. Because of the organization of cooperatives in different areas, farmers do not require 30 ha or more to create an income-producing business.


Cronje R.B.,ARC Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops | Mostert P.G.,Mostert Consulting Services
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2010

Like in all woody plants, carbohydrates are also important in the growth of litchi trees. There are strong seasonal influences in carbohydrate reserves which reflect the growth stages of a tree such as vegetative shooting, flowering and fruit growth. The starch reserves of HLH Mauritius litchi trees were determined as part of an orchard management program. Wood samples from the main branches of trees of various treatments were taken up to six times a year according to certain phenological stages of the trees. The starch content was analyzed using a modified AOAC method. Starch content varied from year to year, reflecting alternate bearing, as well as within a year, reflecting tree phenology. Vegetative growth, flowering and fruit growth reduced starch reserves while rest periods, such as the end of fruit growth until new vegetative flushing and the winter rest period, increased starch reserves again.


Cronje R.B.,Mostert Consulting Services | Mostert P.G.,ARC Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2010

The South African litchi industry is predominantly export orientated and great effort is put into gaining high yields and marketable fruit size. In spite of profuse flowering, litchi yield is usually inadequate, mainly because of massive fruitlet drop during the early period of fruit development. Fruit size is often hampered by insufficient irrigation and fertilization during the critical periods of fruit development. Although good research has been done on various aspects of litchi production this research often does not find its way into farm management. This background in litchi production was the reason for initiating a project which combines 'good agricultural practice' with research results in the area of irrigation, fertilization, use of plant growth regulators as well as other horticultural practices in order to reduce alternate bearing and increase yield and fruit size. Five management programs were developed and are compared with one another according to their effects on yield and fruit size. Three years of data have been collected and give a clear indication on how to manipulate litchi cropping. Furthermore, a software program to provide guideline for the management of litchi orchards is being developed and is currently being tested on various litchi farms. This program will include phenological charts for each production area, fertilizer and irrigation scheduling according to tree requirement as well as other practices that need to be done during the year. The data is interlinked and guidelines for orchard practices are given according to tree phenology and fruit development.


Cronje R.B.,ARC Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops | Mostert P.G.,Mostert Consulting Services
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2010

Fruit size plays an important role as a quality parameter and is as important as yield in the determination of profitability in litchi production. There is a limited increase in fruit size through optimization of standard cultural practices like fertilization, irrigation and pruning. Auxins play an important role in fruit size as they stimulate cell division and enhance cell enlargement. Therefore, the application of auxins increases fruit growth rate and influences size, ripening time, colour and storage quality. Many attempts have been made to increase litchi fruit size. Maxim® (3, 5, 6-TPA), a synthetic auxin, has shown good results on litchis in many countries including Israel, China and South Africa. Maxim® is already registered for citrus in South Africa and registration on litchis is planned. The aim of this research, therefore, was to evaluate Maxim® for the increase in fruit size and fruit retention in litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.), cv. HLH Mauritius, for the registration of Maxim® in South Africa. In the first year (2005/06) Maxim® was applied at the 1-, 2- and 3-g fruit let stage at 20 and 40 ppm, and the effect on yield and fruit size was determined. All treatments increased yield and fruit size, with the 40 ppm treatment at the 3-g stage performing best. In the second year (2006/07) the Maxim® applications were extended due to the first year's results. Maxim® was applied at the 2-, 3- and 4-g fruitlet stage at 20, 40 and 80 ppm. The effect on yield, fruit drop and fruit size was determined. All treatments increased yield and fruit size. The applications at the 3- and 4-g fruitlet stage, after the second natural fruit drop, proved to be most beneficial in increasing litchi fruit size. Considering the data obtained in both years, Maxim® application at 40 ppm after the second natural fruit drop (3- to 4-g stage) can be recommended. Furthermore, economic calculations revealed that the application of Maxim® can benefit producers financially.


Froneman I.J.,ARC Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops | Bijzet Z.,ARC Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops | Sippel A.D.,ARC Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops | Bower J.P.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2012

The effect of self-and cross-pollination on fruit retention and fruit characteristics in 'Wai Chee' litchi was investigated. Enclosed flower panicles were handpollinated with male 2 (M2) pollen from 'Fay Zee Siu', 'HLH Mauritius', 'McLean's Red' and 'Wai Chee' flowers. The number of fruitlets retained per panicle was determined throughout the fruit development period from fruit set to harvest on a daily basis. At harvest, the surviving fruit was measured to determine the effect of pollen parent on different fruit characteristics. Initial fruit set in 'Wai Chee' was lower in all cross-pollinating treatments compared to the self-pollinating treatment. However, final fruit retention was higher with all cross-pollinators compared to selfpollination, with 'Fay Zee Siu' and 'McLean's Red' showing significant increases in retention of 48 and 30% respectively. Fruit size, fruit-and flesh mass in 'Wai Chee' tended to be increased with cross-pollination, but these increases were not significant. No clear effect of pollen donor could be found on seed-and rind mass of fruit, with only slight variation among the different treatments. Results indicated that the inclusion of cross-pollinators in litchi orchards may have beneficial effects on production.H.

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