Fruit Division is engaged in research and development activities pertaining to fruit species germplasm introduction and evaluation, germplasm conservation, varietal improvement, techniques to improve productivity and quality, improvement of postharvest quality of horticultural produce and value addition of local fruits and vegetables.
The achievements of the division includes:
- Propagation of breadfruit by layers that start to bear fruit 2 to 2 ½ years after.
- Dissemination of improved papaya and passion fruit germplasm
- Evaluation and release of banana varieties for
- Dual purpose(eaten both as ripe and green): Petite Naine, Ollier, Williams, Cavendish and Grande Naine
- Dessert type( eaten ripe): Gingeli, Mamoul, Hybrid Ducase and Philibert
- Evaluation of banana varieties with promising traits (tolerance to main diseases such as freckle, Mycosphaerella leaf disease complex and Fusarium wilt) with participation of banana growers to assess their commercial uptake.
- Development of methods for banana macropropagation under field conditions.
- Identification of critical stages for loss of leaves during banana bunch development.
- Development of value-chain analysis for banana subsector.
- Development of low-cost alternatives for tissue-culture methods.
- Development of protocol for in-vitro propagation of breadfruit, banana and pineapple
- Genetic Improvement and mass multiplication of improved lines of local Gingeli banana.
- Development of optimum dose for banana irradiation for genetic banana breeding.
- Ploidy level determination and genomic grouping/identification of all banana varieties grown in Mauritius
- Introduction and evaluation of Fusarium wilt race 4 tolerant banana varieties with farmers participation as an alternative / precautionary step to save the local Cavendish-dominant banana sector
- Evaluation, propagation and dissemination of avocado varieties for commercial production.
- Improving productivity of pitaya using pruning, irrigation and fertiliser management.
- Promotion of pitaya commercial production among small scale farmers.
- Identification and dissemination of six self-pollinating pitaya varieties.
- Release of new litchi variety Yook Ho Pow with high percentage of chicken tongue seeds.
- Introduction of new longane, litchi and atemoya varieties in view of increasing the range of local tropical fruit varieties
- Three promising papaya accessions identified namely Jhurry, Ramnan and C14 and distribution of some 5600 bagged seeds in 2017
- Identification, characterisation and propagation of 3 main types of breadfruit grown in Mauritius.
- Development of protocol for value-added agro-products including lime paste, breadfruit and cassava flour, breadfruit chips, cassava crisps, ginger paste, garlic paste, turmeric paste.
- Development of banana puree from banana waste.
The main research thrust of the division includes:
- Introduction and evaluation of fruit germplasm of the following species –
Banana, Avocado, Papaya, litchi, longane, pitaya, pineapple, breadfruit, passionfruit, coconut, cocoa, strawberry, macadamia, jackfruit, atemoya, ate, soursop, and underutilised fruit species (carambol, peach, pomegranate, rousaille, bibasse, etc..)
- Fruit germplasm conservation
Germplasm collection of varieties and accessions of banana, litchi, longane, pitaya , avocado, breadfruit, jackfruit, papaya , and some 24 underutilised fruit species.
- Productivity and quality improvement
- Promotion of underutilised fruit species (coconut, guava and peach)
- Development of low cost in-vitro propagation of fruit species – Banana and pineapple
- Development of banana varieties tolerant to biotic and abiotic stressed using mutation breeding Development of package for organic fruit production
- Postharvest loss reduction and improving postharvest handling and shelf life of horticultural crops
- Agro processing and value addition to local horticultural crops
Objectives of the Research Projects undertaken at the Fruit division are:
- Extend the range of fruits species and varieties grown commercially in Mauritius
- Introduce, screen and disseminate new fruit crop species and varieties for their adaptability, tolerant to pest and disease, yield, postharvest quality and potential for agro-processing
- Promote new fruit species for domestic and export market
- Introduced new production technologies to improve productivity of fruit species
- Promote sustainable commercial fruit production and sound orchard management practices
- Provide year round availability of local fruits
- Promote processing of safe and quality products in context of Food & Nutrition Security