Importance Of Solanaceous Crops, Trends Cited In International Confab

Josephine Ramos showing Hungarian pepper.Fresh pepper production in the world is P34 million tons while dried pepper is 4 million tons. Top dried pepper producers are India, China and thailand.

The importance of peppers and other solanaceous (sun-loving) vegetables, including the upcoming trends, was highlighted in the recent 15th Solanaceae Conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The confab was participated in by about 300 plant scientists representing 30 countries.

The participants discussed new dynamics and challenges in breeding and genomics of the sun-loving vegetables that include tomato, eggplant, peppers, potato and even tobacco. The gathering was sponsored by Chiang Mai University and East-West Seed which has a research station in Chiang Mai.

The conference recognized that the solanaceous crops are important economic and agricultural crops. They are major economic and agricultural products worldwide.
Tomatoes are grown on 5 million hectares of farmland with 180 million tons fresh and processed tomatoes produced globally every year. China is the biggest producer followed by the US and India.

India and China are the biggest producers of eggplant, 29 million tons and 13 million tons, respectively.

Eggplant is mainly grown in Asian tropical and subtropical regions (94% of world production), with China and India as the biggest producers globally, yielding 29 million tons and 13 millions tons per year, respectively.

Peppers are grown in 4 million hectares of land with worldwide production reaching 34 million tons of fresh peppers and 4 million tons of dry peppers. Asia is the biggest producer of fresh and dry peppers, accoounting for 70 percent of total production. Thailand is the 3rd largest dry pepper producer, following India and China.

The confab concluded that future trends in production, trade and consumption of these major crops will influence breeding goals.

Tomatoes are grown in 8 million hectares globally with China, United States and India as the biggest producers.

1. More and more consumers care about food safety and will be willing to pay a higher price for quality and safe-to-eat vegetables.
2. Protected cultivation (greenhouse, etc.) will continue to grow, especially for specialized products to suit premium demands (niche markets).
3. Farmers will gradually move to mechanized harvesting (because of increasing labor costs) and improved cultivation techniques like grafted seedlings.
4. Distribution channels will gradually move from wet market to supermarket as well as e-comerce. Modern retail channels will require year-round supply.
5. Food processing will continue to advance.
6. International trade will become more regional, through rail, sea, and road. Air freight will lessen.

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