Two new higher yielding, virus and nematode resistant hybrid tomato breeds from Spain have been introduced to Kenyan farmers. The two new breeds Tylka F1 and Kilele F1 are targeted at growers using greenhouses and open fields.
The Tylka F1 variety for greenhouse farming has more qualities than the commonly grown greenhouse tomato the Anna F1. It gives an extra 2 to 3 months of harvest compared to Anna F1. It is also more resistant to yellow leaf curl and mosaic viruses, grey leaf spot, root rot and nematodes.
In addition, “it’s sweeter and less acidic,” adds Soren Vester of Sygenta East Africa the company that released the breeds, and Tylka F1’s fruit size can weigh 130 grams compared to the weight of an Anna F1 fruit that reaches 120 grams.
Though Tylka F1 is restricted to greenhouse farming in regions like Central and Nairobi, like the Anna F1 it can grow in open fields all year round in warm regions such as the East Coast of Mombasa. Per hectare Tylka F1’s average production if well managed ranges from 70 to 80 tonnes.
The other new introduction, the Kilele F1 tomato, is an open field variety with 3 times more yield than the non-hybrid varieties. If tended well an acre can yield 30 to 35 tonnes.
“Kilele is resistant to nematodes, late and early blight,” said Vester. It is also resistant to tomato yellow leaf curl that causes up to 60 percent loss of tomato crop harvest in other ordinary tomato breeds.
Its yield window is longer too. Most non hybrid tomatoes exhaust production in 4 weeks, while a harvest window for Kilele F1 can go up to 12 weeks, topping even the 10 weeks of the Eden F1 hybrid.
Kilele F1 is sweeter than most of the existing fruits, and doesn’t leave a bitter acidic after-taste in the mouth. If well tended, its fruit size can weigh up to 150 grams.
These new tomato breeds are also harder and better able to withstand long distance transit without mashing, thanks to having thicker less watery inner walls that don’t easily collapse.
The shelf life of the new breeds is 21 days after harvest. Both mature from 75 days after transplanting from the seed bed where they are tended in their first 3 to 4 weeks.
The new breeds of tomatoes can be sourced from seed stockists around Kenya, or by contacting Syngenta East Africa, whose details are on the www.syngenta.co.ke website.