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Chan Y.K.,Malaysian Agrifood Corporation Berhad MAFC | Baharuddin A.G.,Malaysian Agrifood Corporation Berhad MAFC
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2010

Malaysia was the second most important exporter of papaya in the world in 2004 with a total volume of 58,149 mt accounting for 21% of the global trade. This declined rapidly after 2005 because of two reasons: the outbreak of the Bacterial Dieback (Erwinia) disease and fruit fly quarantine restrictions from China that affected 60% of our export. The Malaysian Agrifood Corporation, Berhad (MAFC) started the initiative to rejuvenate the papaya industry in December 2006. The papaya was accorded the 'iconic crop' status and 20 ha in the Permanent Food Production Park at Lanchang, Pahang was used to develop this crop. The variety called 'Frangi' is a new F1 hybrid with improved fruit storage developed by the company. It was later sold under the 'Paiola' brand. A one ha seed garden was first established to produce certified pure seed. A 15 ha model business farm was also established with the objective of demonstrating the performance of the new hybrid, innovative cultural practices (e.g. mulching and fertigation) and effective pest and disease management programmes (especially against Bacterial Dieback). The model farm serves as showcase to woo contract farmers to plant our papaya, as a training centre for Good Agricultural Practices and to use the harvest for postharvest studies, promotion, branding and market testing. The results have hitherto been very promising - the fruit is well accepted in the local mega stores like Carrefour and Cold Storage and a limited amount have been exported to Singapore and Marks and Spencer (London). The future plan is to expand production to 1,200 ha over the next 3 years with 70% of it planted by contract farmers. With an estimated daily volume of 80 mt of fruit at peak production, MAFC is building a Consolidated Processing and Packaging Centre (CPPC) at Lanchang to handle this volume. The annual production from MAFC is about 30,000 mt which is close to the export volume lost since 2004. This will put Malaysia back on track as a significant global exporter of papaya.

Chan Y.K.,Malaysian Agrifood Corporation Berhad MAFC | Baharuddin A.G.,Malaysian Agrifood Corporation Berhad MAFC
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2012

The Malaysian Agrifood Corporation Berhad (MAFC) started its papaya business in December 2006 at the Permanent Food Production Park at Lanchang, Pahang about 100 km east of Kuala Lumpur. A variety called 'Frangi' which is a new F1 hybrid with improved fruit storage was grown. At the start, a 1 ha seed garden was established to produce certified pure seed. A 15 ha model business farm was concurrently established to serve as a showcase to woo contract farmers, to act as a training centre for Good Agricultural Practices and to use the harvest for postharvest studies, promotion, branding and market testing. MAFC has since progressed from Model Farm status to commercial cultivation covering 200 ha with another 80 ha grown by contract farmers. The results have been very promising-the fruit is well accepted in the local mega stores and exports to Singapore, China and Middle East and EU countries have started. The 'Frangi' hybrid, brand name 'Paiola' was nominated for the Innovation Award 2009 at the Fruit Logistica in Berlin. The production standards have also been accepted by the Carrefour Quality Line (CQL) label. The challenges in commercial cultivation of papaya in Malaysia are primarily in the management of pest and disease including the bacteria dieback (Erwinia papayae), fruit brown blotch (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides), fruit fly (Bactrocera papayae) and oriental fruit scales (Aonidiella orientalis). Bacteria dieback is the most threatening disease without prophylactic measures for control. Management is through 'exclusion' of the pathogen where the area is un-infected, and 'containment' where the field is infected and spread is curbed by culling of infected trees. Growing papaya on very heavy clays with shallow impervious subsoil in Lanchang presents another challenge. Agronomic ameliorations such as raised beds are needed to make it suitable for papaya cultivation.

Chan Y.K.,Malaysian Agrifood Corporation Berhad MAFC
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2011

Pineapple breeding, as in breeding of many other fruit species, usually has selection criteria based on conventional traits like high yield and fruit quality, at least before the breeding programme begins. In modern day production from farm to fork for the global markets, however, these selection criteria are largely inadequate and should be expanded to cover the demands of an integrated system of good agricultural practices. This makes breeding more complicated as the breeder has to understand and address the demands at each segment of the total global supply chain. At the beginning stage (upstream) of the supply chain, the production of bona fide and disease-free planting materials are an important matter before start-up of the pineapple farm. For the breeder, the cultivar selected should produce at least one or two suckers for continuity in propagation. New cultivars should have consistent and high early yield, stability in performance over environments and seasons and pest and disease resistance that reduces the use of chemical pesticides. The fruit must be symmetrical in configuration with a small crown for efficient packing, have good ripening characteristics, extended shelf-life and the ability to withstand specific sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements demanded by some importing countries. At the downstream marketing end, the extended shelf-life for a longer display window is important, as is the cosmetic appeal of the fruit on display. Extended shelf-life with the ability to withstand transport by refrigerated sea-reefers will score better in 'Food Miles' and 'Carbon Footprints' compared with air-freighted produce. Finally, consumer demands for organoleptic traits like freshness, flavour (balance of sugar and acid for e.g.), sweetness, texture and visual traits like fruit cosmetics and colour have to be satisfied to ensure repeat purchases. Convenience in serving such as the peeling-eye pineapples and mini-core cultivars for fresh cut (minimally processed) pineapples to make consumption more ubiquitous should also be addressed. Many global markets now demand food safety and traceability through Good Agriculture Practices (e.g., Global GAP, Carrefour Quality Line (CQL)) and cultivars should be adapted to such cultural methods (low pesticide use, organically grown, etc.). Lately, consumers are starting to recognize the role of tropical fruits as exotic functional foods with high vitamins, anti-oxidants and other health attributes for wellness. Breeding therefore should address the improvement of these nutritional contents as well.

Chan Y.K.,Malaysian AgriFood Corporation Berhad MAFC
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2014

Papaya cultivars in Malaysia before the 1980s were generally non-descript, open-pollinated cultivars developed through farmers' selections. In 1987, the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) released the 'Eksotika', a petite fruited self-pollinating pureline with strong 'Solo' genetic background. At that time, many researchers thought that pureline homozygous cultivars were the accepted norms in their breeding programmes. This thought was strengthened by the belief that papayas do not suffer inbreeding depression upon selfing and hence hybridization between inbred lines was unlikely to bring about heterosis (hybrid vigour). Indeed, the popular cultivars in that era were from the self-pollinating gynodioecious cultivars from the 'Solo' family ('Sunrise', 'Kapoho' and 'Waimanalo') and the open pollinated cultivars from gynodioecious or dioecious sources. F1 papaya hybrids were not actively pursued, although globally, the seed industry for horticultural and food crops was moving rapidly towards using F1 hybrids. The situation changed with the development of the 'Eksotika 2', a product from a cross between two sib inbreds ('Eksotika' and 'Line 19'). This was the first F1 hybrid papaya released in Malaysia in 1991. Even from this narrow sib cross, a 2-22% heterosis in yield was recorded. This encouraging result led to further experiments using more divergent parents and the results showed that 118-200% heterosis in yield can be obtained in wide crosses. The papaya breeding strategy at MARDI had from then on, switched to development of F1 hybrids. In 2005, MARDI announced the arrival of the 'Eksotika 3', a product of a cross between the 'PR 217' and 'L19'. Its strength was in its extended shelf-life, firm texture and high stable yield. The Malaysian AgriFood Corporation also developed a F1 papaya hybrid called 'Frangi' in 2007 and brand named it 'Paiola'. This hybrid is 'Solo'-like, has excellent eating qualities and cosmetics and can store at least a week longer than the 'Eksotika'. The future hybrid will focus on bacterial dieback disease resistance and currently the 'LSGC2' × 'LSGC3' holds the best promise. The advantages of F1 hybrids are obvious with proven hybrid vigour for yield and with control over the inbred parents, the propriety over the production of hybrid seed is secured. For papayas that produce large amounts of seed from a single pollination, F1 hybrid seed production does not pose a problem compared to, for example, cereals that require male sterile lines for feasible seed production. There appears to be no turning back on breeding of papayas using F1 hybrids in the future.

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