Commercially viable hybrid tomatoes, bred in South Africa for the first time, promise greater resistance to disease, will yield more prolifically, will produce fruit of a uniform size, and will have a longer shelf life.
The successful development of hybrids is seen as a significant step forward in the breeding of tomatoes in South Africa.
Limited amounts of experimental seed are available at the moment; however, seed in quantity for commercial growers may not be ready for a little while.
Rodney Zingel, the plant breeder at a leading seed company, Mayford, says the hybrids are resistant to most of the main tomato killers, such as Fusarium wilt (both strains), root-knot nematode and verticillium wilt.
Hybrid seed will be more expensive than the open-pollinated variety, and a grower must weigh the advantages of the hybrid against the increased production costs.
ADAPTABILITY OF A HYBRID
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