Pg. 41-47 Developments in Litchi Cultivar Improvement in South Africa

It is well known that a very short litchi marketing season occurs in South Africa due to a- lack of cultivars. This need for cultivars prompted the initiation of a cultivar improvement programme in 1992. The South African litchi improvement programme consists of two interlinked strategies, namely evaluation of imported cultivars and the
breeding of new material, adapted to local conditions. The main aims of the programme are to obtain early and late cultivars with improved fruit and tree characteristics.
This paper deals with new developments and strategies to improve the efficiency of the improvement programme as well as progress being made. A report on seedling evaluation at the ARC-ITSC is presented. Methods to accelerate
the evaluation and distribution of new material throughout the industry are discussed.

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