By George Munene
The improved high yield Solo Sunrise papaya weighs on average between 500-700 grams with a farmer able to harvest up to 200 fruits from each plant in a year. Improved Solo Sunrise is also early maturing taking eight months to grow than the usual ten taken by most papaya. They also exhibit disease resistance to the red spider mite pest as well as anthracnose fungi.
This makes them twice as large as the original Solo Sunrise which weighs about 250-500g, while also yielding about 100 more fruits.
According to Alex Kituku, proprietor of Papaya Empire Nurseries, the Solo Sunrise has been a popular papaya variety with Kenyan farmers for its idyllic small size which makes them consumable in one go. They also have a long shelf life; able to remain fresh for consumption for 14 days.
The variety also has fruit uniformity—enabling sequential one-time harvests. Improved Solo Sunrise also has smooth skin and a red attractive colour that is a consumer preference.
As with most other farming sectors, Covid-19 has also been a bane for seedling importers. “Sourcing for papaya seeds for propagation, majority of which are imported, has been intermittent, hampered by long delays for the past for the past three months,” Alex explains.
Pawpaw favors warm to hot areas and should be grown in an area free of waterlogging. They require an optimal temperature range of 25-28°C, ideally in soils with a PH value of 5.5 to 7.0. They ought to be spaced 2x2m in their planting.