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Juicy Tomatoes from Dry Cuban Soil

News Article
15 April 2008

Participatory selection in low water input in different areas

Having in mind the need to have tomato varieties growing under low water input conditions, not only to save this valuable liquid but also to diversify production in drought-affected areas, a tomato breeding programme using nuclear techniques was started with the purpose of obtaining adequate yielding-potential cultivars under drought conditions using the Cuban tomato varieties INCA 9-1 and Amalia.

Seeds from INCA 9-1 and Amalia varieties were irradiated with Co-60 gamma rays using doses of 300 Gy and 500 Gy. Selection of high yield potential genotypes under low water supply conditions was made during four generations from M2 generation. The Individual selection was done, taking into account healthy plants, determinate growth habit, high number of fruits per plant, high yielding and good fruits quality. The farmers participated in the selection of advanced mutant lines every year.

Mutant selected under low water input condition (Mali, Carucha, Maybel y Domi)

The most frequent variations observed in each generation were: plant cycle, fruit size, number, shape, color and yield. Highly significant differences were appreciated in the genetic material analyzed for yield per plant, fruit number per plant and average fruit weight in relationship with the donor. It was possible to select four high yielding genotypes under low water input conditions.

Taking into account the values reached for each selected genotype and based on the established parameters about internal fruit quality, all varieties could be appraised for industrial use and one of them additionally as a double purpose variety, considering its average fruit weight. These varieties are being adopted by the farmers and have made possible the increase of tomato production in several areas of Cuba with low input of water and fertilizers. These results have been obtained with the support of IAEA through TC project CUB/5/016. Currently, the Breeding Programme for Drought Tolerance in Tomato continues with the support of a national project and the IAEA project ARCAL RLA/5/056.

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