By George Munene
Raja F1 is a hybrid tomato variety introduced to the Kenyan market by Advanta Seed International. It distinguishes itself for its disease resistance and high production. The variety is resistant to Bacterial Wilt and Tobacco Mosaic Virus as well as having a high tolerance for fungal foliar diseases such as early blight and Septoria leaf spot.
Bacterial wilt is a serious disease for solanaceous crops such as tomatoes and is especially damaging in wet weather and at high temperatures where it spreads rapidly between plants. In a report on the impact of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus on tomato production, every 10 percent increase of infection, led to a 4.4 percent average decrease in production. Fungal foliar diseases are some of the most common infections affecting tomato production in the country.
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“The semi-determinate tomato is able to withstand rainy conditions and has a yielding capability of 30–35 tonnes per acre under good agronomic practice. Each plant can be harvested for up to two months and has a yielding potential of 9-10 kilograms under good agronomic conditions,” Mark Kandie, Advanta sales representative Central and Rift region explained.
It is an early mature at just 65 days. This is compared to other varieties such as the popular Anna F1 that develops in 75 days.
In November 2020 10,000 seedlings of Raja F1 were donated to farmers in Bondo and Rarieda sub-counties of Siaya for a pilot scheme conducted by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO). This was aimed at availing tomato varieties suited to the region whose tomato production has been greatly hampered by the prevalence of fungal diseases such as early blight and late blight.
Its fruits are firm, deep red, ovular and weigh between 120-150g–in line with local market demand. Each plant has a production capability of ten kilograms of tomatoes. The fruits are firm and have a long shelf life making them suited to long-distance transportation.
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An acre of tomatoes requires 10,000-12000 seeds depending on the applied spacing and region. Raja F1 comes in 1,000 seedlings which cost Sh1,500-2000, 5,000 seedlings pack retail at between Sh6,000-8,000 and 10,000 seedlings costing Sh16000-20000.
Mark Kandie: 0725595476