Official Release New Guava Variety-Green Pearl-25 09 17
MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, RURAL AND MARITIME DEVELOPMENT AND NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Hon. Inia B. Seruiratu
OPENING ADDRESS: RELEASE OF A NEW GUAVA VARIETY “GREEN PEARL”
Venue: Sigatoka Research Station
Date: Monday 25 September 2017
Time: 10.00 am
Mr Philip Hu, Representative for Taiwan Technical Mission
Mr Yang, TTM Team Leader
Senior Management and Staff of the Ministry of
Ladies and Gentleman
I am indeed honoured and privileged to be here as Chief Guest to officially release the new Guava variety today.
It is widely accepted that daily consumption of fruit and vegetables is important for human health and
nutrition because the vitamins, minerals, essential micronutrients, fiber, vegetable proteins and bio functional components they provide are crucial for bodily function. However, despite this recognition, world-wide per capita consumption of fruits and vegetables is estimated to be 20-50% short of the minimum level recommended by FAO and World Health Organization. Such a deficit has severe consequences for human health. According to the World Health Organization, low fruit and vegetable intake is among the top ten identified risk factors for global poor health and human mortality. The poor health conditions, associated with inadequate consumption of fruit and vegetables and lack of physical activity, favor the development of Non-Communicable Disease or NCD, obesity and micronutrient and vitamin deficiencies. NCDs include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and respiratory diseases are currently the cause of 6 out of every 10 deaths. It is often mistakenly assumed that NCDs are confined largely to the developed
nations. The situation is, however, NCDs are more serious in the developing world. There are twice as many deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases in developing than in developed countries. Fijians today also face a high risk of NCDs.
Guava has been hailed as one of the ‘super’ fruits due to the numerous health benefits it offers. It is low in calories and fats but carry several vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The fruit is a very rich source of soluble dietary fibre which makes it a good bulk laxative. Guava fruit is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin C. 100 g fresh fruit provides 228 mg of Vitamin C, more than three times the required daily recommended intake. The fruit is a very good source of Vitamin-A and flavonoids. The compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and therefore essential for optimum health. Fresh fruit is a very rich source of potassium. It contains more potassium than other fruits like banana weight per weight. Potassium is an important component of
cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
With its enormous nutrient benefits, Guava is therefore has the potential to help reduce NCDs.
Fiji has been relying on its traditional fruits such as Banana, Pineapple, Papaya and Mangoes over the years. Imported fruits such as Apples, Oranges, Pears and Grapes have also taken a wide market share.
There is a need to develop Fiji’s Fruit industry to include more locally grown fruits in our diets. Guava, until now has not been a commercially cultivated crop. The release of this variety has provided farmers with the opportunity to grow a new crop at commercial scale.
A total of 2,500 seedlings of this variety has been planted as organized orchards and will start bearing fruits in a month’s time. Market research conducted
on this variety has shown great demand. Fruits can be sold in supermarkets at $7 to $10 per kilogram while hotels are willing to pay as high as $12 per kilogram. However, we need to supply these markets with consistently good quality fruits.
Reducing fruits and vegetable imports is a priority of the Fijian Government. However, replacing these imports with local supply faces a number of challenges. These include producing quality product in the right quantity consistently throughout the year.
Research and Development will continue to play an important role in Government’s plan for the long-term sustainability and growth of the agricultural sector in Fiji. The search is for higher yielding varieties, low cost of production, pest and disease tolerance and resilient to the effects of climate change.
The search for excellence is a never ending process. It can take years before a high performing variety is released. Green Pearl the new Guava variety that we have all gathered here to celebrate was introduced from Taiwan in 2007 and has undergone 10 years of field research. You will all be hearing about the benefits of this new guava variety from the researchers.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Acting Prime Minister had launched the National Climate Week at Albert Park in Suva last Friday. Whole of this week the National Climate Week is celebrated in various centers around the country.
Vulnerability to climate change is the most serious among the poor, particularly the smallholder farmers in rural and remote areas that typically have a small asset base. The agriculture sector must strengthen its resilience to climate change, natural disasters and other shocks. Improving the health of the
environment by consistently applying sustainable management techniques is critical in achieving this. Transition toward climate smart agriculture is essential to improve resilience in the agriculture sector.
Better educating our farmers to develop climate smart techniques such as planting more fruit trees, practicing protected agriculture and agro-forestry will assist them to improve their resilience to the adverse effects of climate change.
Fruit trees such as Guava are long term crops hence it also help to reduce greenhouse gas emission.
Continuing research cooperation among local, national and international partners is essential for the development of Fiji’s agricultural sector. I acknowledge the contributions by our collaborative partners; the Taiwan Technical Mission with such
assistance we have successfully achieved this milestone.
I would also like to acknowledge the dedication of the Crop Research Division in particular the staff of Sigatoka Research Station and TTM for working with this crop and conducting experiments for selecting this variety for commercial cultivation.
I now have much pleasure in officially releasing “Green Pearl” Guava for commercial cultivation.