Mission (TTM) continues to conduct trials for new crop varieties to Saint Lucia. On Wednesday, 13th April, 2022, the team highlighted the production of two varieties of watermelon and a new variety of melon called Apple Melon.
The new varieties were grown from non-GMO seeds brought to Saint Lucia through the production team of the Taiwan Technical Mission. The target for this training is to meet the needs of the local retail outlets and introduce to the farmers a variety of watermelon that may fetch a higher price on the retail market.
The training was conducted by Production Specialist, Mr. Eric Chen, and assisted by Technical Officer, Mr. Edward Wilson. To commence the training, Mr. Chen highlighted the two varieties of watermelon on display — “Sweet Robin” and “Black Queen”. These are both yellow/orange-fleshed watermelons that are unfamiliar to local farmers.
The identifying characteristic of the Black Queen watermelon is its all-around dark skin color and small size. Both melons are smaller sized and average around 4.5 kg in weight.
He also introduced equipment previously uncommonly used by the local farmers called a Brix tester. The Brix tester will be used to determine the sweetness of the harvested crops under ideal conditions and otherwise. The preferred range would be between 10 – 12 for watermelons and 15 – 17 for melons.
The Brix tester could also be used for other crops, if necessary. The ideal production practices for these types of watermelon were then discussed and the farmers were able to ask their related questions. The Taiwan Technical Mission intends to carry out three cycles of trials before determining the viability of any crop variety.
He also conducted training on the production of the new variety of melon called “Apple Melon”. This melon is a soft-skinned melon that can be eaten whole with the skin on as well. This crop is very prolific and produces around four crops per vine during each growing cycle.
In addition to this, during phase two of this project, the Mission will do other crops, including corn, eggplant, dragon fruit, soursop, carrots, cabbage, zucchini, and squash.
Farmers are encouraged to reach out to their extension officers to be a part of other upcoming training hosted by the Taiwan Technical Mission.