FEATURE: Fiji’s new Green Pearl guava is sweet, crisp, and nutritious


On 25 September 2017, The Fijian Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with Taiwan Technical Mission introduced the Green Pearl guava variety to the local market. Minister Inia Seruiratu of the Ministry of Agriculture Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management officially launched the variety.

 

 

“Daily consumption of fruit and vegetables is important for human health and nutrition,” said Seruiratu. He adds that fruits can reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and cancer, which are faced by Fijians today.

 

As a fruit, guava is low in calories and fats but rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and anti-oxidants. One hundred grams of fresh guava contains about 228 mg of vitamin C, which is 3 times more than the required daily intake. It also contains a significant amount of vitamin A, potassium, and polyphenols.

 

“With its enormous nutrient benefits, Guava has been hailed as a superfruit and therefore has the ability to reduce [the risk of] NCDs,” said Seruiratu.

 

Fiji relies heavily on imports of fruits such as apples, oranges, pears, and grapes. The only fruits grown commercially in Fiji are banana, pineapple, papaya, and mango. Seruiratu hopes that the new Green Pearl guava will provide farmers a new opportunity to increase their income and reduce the reliance on fruit imports.

 

A total of 2,500 seedlings were planted in September and will be expected to produce fruits after 6-8 months. Market research shows a high demand for Green Pearl guava and fruits can be sold for FJD 7.00-10.00 (USD 3.50-5.00) per kilogram in supermarkets and up to FJD 12.00 (USD 6.00) in hotels.

 

“We need to supply these markets with consistently good quality fruits,” said Seruiratu. He adds, “Research and development will continue to play an important role in the government’s plan for the long-term sustainability and growth of the agricultural sector in Fiji.”

 

Characteristics

 

Guava (Psidium guajava) is tropical fruit that is valued for its delectable taste, delightful aroma, and dense nutritional content. Many types of guava vary in size, color, and taste and can be eaten fresh, cooked in dishes, or processed into juice, jam, or jellies.

 

 

Green Pearl is oval or nearly pear-shaped with white flesh that can grow up to 1kg. It is incredibly crispy when fresh and has a delicately sweet taste and aroma, with hints of zest. The pulp is considerably thick and has fewer seeds that most guava.

 

As a dwarf variety, the tree can bear fruit as quickly as 6-8 months after transplanting.

 

Development

Green Pearl has been a well-known variety in Taiwan for nearly three decades. It is a crossbreed between Taiwanese Century Guava and Thai Guava. The first Green Pearl plantation was established in 1989 and slowly grew to become the most popular variety in Taiwan.

 

In 2015, the International Cooperation and Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF) begun its Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) to promote fruit and vegetable production, marketing, extension, and capacity building in Fiji. One of TTM’s objectives is to introduce Green Pearl Guava to Fiji.

 

As TTM Team Leader, Mr. Yang worked on identifying possibly rootstocks for Green Pearl. They found two local guava varieties that thrive in Fiji’s climate. Branches of mature Green Pearl trees are grafted onto rootstocks of the local guava varieties. The result is a fast-growing guava tree that can produce fruit in merely 6-8 months after planting.

 

 

How to grow Green Pearl guava

As a guide for farmers and would-be growers, the Sigatoka Research Station of the Ministry of Agriculture released a guide to grow the variety. It includes the ideal agronomic practices for plant spacing, water requirement, fertilizer rate, weed control, insect and disease management, and harvesting.

 

A detailed account of the income and expenditure such as land preparation, material inputs, labor, and transportation are also included.

 

For more information, check out the research guide. You can also contact Mr. Shalendra Prasad, Project Research Officer for Horticulture, Ministry of Agriculture, Fiji.

 

Written by Christian Cangao




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