NEW EAST-WEST AMPALAYA: The Talk Of The Town In Vietnam

From left: Van Le Thi, East-West HMT product development support manager, farmer Ngo Tuan and Ric M. Reyes. They are posing before the fruiting HMT 128 in Danang, Vietnam.
The spindle-shaped fruits of HMT 128 that sell for 9000 dong per kilo, equivalent to P21. That’s higher than the 8000 dong fetched by the older varieties.

East-West Seed has developed a new ampalaya (bitter gourd) variety that is now the talk of the town, so to speak, in Vietnam. This is called HMT 128 which is an improved version of earlier varieties that were also bestsellers in past years in Vietnam – HMT 241 and HMT 242. These two earlier varieties have already become susceptible to some diseases.

According to Ric Reyes, EAst-West Seed Group’s Product Market Combination Manager, HMT 128 has a vigorous plant growth and high disease resistance. In addition, it has a higher yield with better eating quality. The fruit is spindle-shaped, shiny green, 20 to 30 cm long and 7 to 8 cm in diameter. The variety is early maturing. The first fruits can be harvested in 39 to 43 days from sowing. It is claimed to be resistant to powdery mildew and Tospo virus.

One of the first farmers to plant the new hybrid is Ngo Tuan of Danang province who is very happy about the high yield and the plants’ resistance to diseases. Ngo Tuan observes that the fruit has a high market acceptance. The fruits are firm with thick flesh, hence heavier.

According to farmer Ngo Tuan, the fruits of HMT 128 command a higher price in the market than the older varieties. He sells his fruits at 9000 dong per kilo (P21) compared to the 8000 dong buyers pay for the older varieties. The yield is higher by 33% than the old varieties.

Photo shows Joostvan Elzakker, East-West Seed General Manager for Vietnam, and farmer Ngo Tuan of Danang, Vietnam.

East-West Seed which first set up operation in Vietnam in 1997 was the first company to develop vegetable varieties for the growing conditions in Vietnam. It distributes nearly 100 different vegetable varieties, most of them with high economic value such as Demon pepper, Tiela Chili, Suprema pumpkin, Arjuna pumpkin, Hunter and many others.

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