In July 1998, the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH-CTAHR) provided grant support to increase efficiency and productivity of papaya growers in Hawaii. This project addresses five main components. They are 1) new and existing farmer education; 2) transgenic papaya education; 3) transgenic papaya varietal evaluation; 4) technology transfer; and 5) marketing and promotion.
New and Existing Farmer Education. A multi-disciplinary collaboration of UH-CTAHR research specialist and extension agents initiated educational classes on the culture and production of papaya at various sites throughout the state. Educational classes conducted covered topics such as papaya production, pathogen management, and herbicide practices for weed control. One hundred- thirty-two participants attended the four organized meetings conducted on the islands of Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii. The field demonstration teaching method will be incorporated into the educational program as fields become available for demonstration purposes.
Transgenic Papaya Education. Papaya ring spot virus (PRV) is a significant disease that negatively affects annual production. The development of transgenic papaya varieties has allowed papaya to be grown in PRV infested fields. Year-round certification educational classes are offered to commercial and home producers interested in the new transgenic varieties. Twenty-six classes were held that certified 375 papaya growers over a six-month review period. Project investigators will monitor the conversion of PRV susceptible acres to the new transgenic varieties.
Transgenic Papaya Varietal Evaluation. One cooperator field trial of transgenic varieties has been installed in Koloa, Kauai. Five papaya varieties are being evaluated for fruit quality and production on four acres. Additional trials are anticipated to be implemented in 1999.
Technology Transfer: Production of a multi-disciplinary comprehensive papaya production in Hawaii CD-ROM and video is currently underway. Project leader, Melvin Nishina is working on securing the necessary equipment and personnel. First draft of the production manual has been circulated to project investigators and revisions are currently being made.
Marketing and Promotion. UH-CTAHR extension agents and specialists are working with the Papaya Administrative Committee (PAC) and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) in developing and implementing new marketing and promotional strategies. Project investigators, Randall Hamasaki and Norman Nagata initiated mass media advertisements about the new transgenic papaya varieties. Cooperative extension agent, Randall Hamasaki conducted an interview at the KZOO and MOA-Hawaii radio stations. The number of intended listeners is unknown. In addition, cooperative extension agent, Norman Nagata wrote an article in Maui News about the promising new virus resistant papaya varieties, which circulated to approximately 25,700 readers. He also assisted in organizing a transgenic papaya taste testing demonstration at the Maui County Fair. An estimated 20,500 individuals were reached.