By Tope Orogun
A new variant of tomatoes named Eva F1 has been introduced into Nigeria courtesy of a collaborative effort between the School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology (SAAT) and the Teaching and Research Farm (TRF) of the Federal University of Technology, Akure.
The Eva F1 Tomato is a variety five times bigger in size than the commonly available one in the Nigerian market and it is capable of producing paste more than four times the latter. The Eva F1 tomato has the rare quality of imperishability over a period of two weeks from date of harvest. At a formal presentation of the first harvest of the product to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adeola Fuwape, the Dean, School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, Professor Taiwo Amos in company of the FUTA Farm Manager, Mr. Olajide Adedayo said the Eva F1 seedling was imported from Israel and carefully nurtured in FUTA’s Green House under controlled temperature. Adedayo described the development as the actualization of part of the mandate and determination of the University to put science to work for the society. He said the Teaching and Research Farm under the watch of the School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology has gone into the farming and production of Tomato Eva F1 variety in the Green House using modern farming technique. He said High crop yield is achieved under a small area of land as a unit of the Green House covers 192m2 (8m x 24m)”.
Speaking further on the advantages of the new variety and its potentials, Adedayo said “with this technology, the Tomato crop will be grown and produce round the season. The Eva F1 Tomatoes are organically produced and an indeterminate hybrid variety with an extended shelf life, good resistance to cracking with flower setting at high temuperatres”. On the gestation period, he said “the first harvest of the fruits started after three months of planting and we hope to continue the harvest for the next six months”. Departments in the School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology such as Agricultural Extension and Communication (AEC) and Food Science Technology, (FST) are already involved in a joint research effort through sampling the fruit for analysis and to determine the level of its nutritional content for finished product such as Tomato paste, Ketchup etc.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Fuwape described the successful cultivation and production of the Eva F1 Tomatoes as another proof of FUTA’s robust contributions to the development of the country through pursuit of excellence in its area of core mandates.
He called on investors and interested agencies to partner with the university in order to engender massive cultivation of the new variety and stimulate its contributions to the economy .
FUTA road to the cultivation of Eva F1 tomatoes began with the immediate past Dean of SAAT, Professor Shadrack Akindele who saw the product on a working visit to Israel, got linked with Dizengoft Nigeria, had a discussion with the organization and sold the idea to the University Management and got approval for its cultivation and production through a Green House modern farming technique.