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Current Position:Home » News » Food Technology » Topic

Kenya: New pumpkin variety released

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2016-11-09  Views: 66
Core Tip: Paul Kabucwa, an officer at Opica Farm in Nyeri county, displays the latest pumpkin variety, known as Opica F1 Green.
Paul Kabucwa, an officer at Opica Farm in Nyeri county, displays the latest pumpkin variety, known as Opica F1 Green. 

Opica Farm, from Nyeri County in Kenya, has developed a new pumpkin variety which is rich in zinc and other essential minerals. Dubbed Opica F1 Green, the variety is marcotted from Jollydele and Rock Mass varieties to boost mineral content and disease tolerance and it can produce a fruit weighing up to 80kg.

“Since we started harvesting, we have picked pumpkins of 40kg, 48kg, 57kg, and 81kg. On average, a mature fruit weighs 40kg,” said Paul Kabucwa, an officer in the farm. He said this variety is highly resistant to diseases and does well in arid and semi-arid areas because it can survive with low rainfall.

“This is the reason behind marcotting the two varieties; while Rock Mass is tolerant to drought, Jollydele is not affected by pests such as wasps and fruit-flies and the resultant variety is also tolerant to frost,” he said.

The farm is selling seeds for propagation of the pumpkin and also buying mature fruits from farmers at Sh180 per kilo. The pumpkins are then sold to flour millers who mix it with sorghum and finger millet for sale in the form of Uji Mix, for porridge and other products.

The pumpkin skin is also blended to juice, while seeds are fried like groundnuts. The two products are sold as zinc supplements. “Whilst common pumpkin varieties have about 15 per cent of zinc per given mass, the Opica Green variety has double the same amount and we would like to encourage more farmers to embrace this variety for better returns,” he said.

“In cold areas, the pumpkins matures between 28 to 32 weeks, while in hot regions, it is ready for harvest in 17 to 20 weeks. In moderate weather, the crop can mature in 20 to 24 weeks and this makes it suitable for any climate,” he added.

(1 Kenyan Shilling=0.0098 USD)
keywords: pumpkin
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