|Author: ||V.N. Villegas|
The Philippines has more than 300 edible fruit and nut species but only a few are commercially cultivated.
In terms of volume of production, banana, pineapple and mango are the major fruits grown, followed by citrus, papaya, jackfruit and durian.
Unlike major annual food crops like rice and corn, fruit breeding has not been given as much attention.
However, modest efforts are being implemented to develop fruit varieties that can be registered and recommended for planting.
The current methods of breeding consisting of germplasm enhancement, on-site evaluation and selection, hybridization and selection have led to the registration of superior varieties of mango, papaya, durian, jackfruit, avocado, rambutan, chico, soursop and others.
Techniques of modern biotechnology are being utilized to address problems that are difficult to solve using conventional methods.
Genetic engineering projects to develop ringspot virus resistant papaya, bunchy-top virus resistant banana and papaya and mango with longer shelf life are currently being done in collaboration with laboratories abroad.
Progress made in fruit breeding in the last 25 years shall be discussed along with strategies employed to enhance varietal development of fruits.
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