RED LADY: A Gift From God


Zac B. Sarian (left) interviews Known-You Chairman Chen Lung-Mu in his office in Kaohsiung. At right is Neo Wang of KY Philippines.

When we asked Chairman Chen Lung-Mu what he would consider the most remarkable hybrid that Known-You has had in its 50 years of developing and distributing seeds of high-value crops, he raised his right hand pointing upwards and readily answered: “Red Lady Papaya. It’s a Gift from God.”

Red Lady has been a bestseller for the last 20 years and continues to be so up to these days. There’s no sign that farmers are getting tired of it. It is an all-time favorite in the Philippines and also in other countries like India, Vietnam, Indonesia and in Latin American countries. Ironically, it is not so in Taiwan because the Taiwanese love another home grown variety, Tainung No.2.

Farmers in many countries love Red Lady for a number of good reasons. It has excellent eating quality – sweet with firm red flesh. It is highly productive and more tolerant to diseases than other hybrids, especially the papaya ring spot virus (PRSV).

Many farmers have become rich, thanks to Red Lady. Most are making money from their harvest of fruits. But there are others who are also making good income by producing seedlings for sale. Here’s how profitable it is to produce seedlings for sale. A packet of 750 seeds costs P3,405 in the market.  If you are an expert in producing papaya seedlings you can sprout practically every seed. But let us say, out of the 750 seeds you are able to produce 700 healthy seedlings. Each one sells at P35 to P50 in the retail market.

Let’s say you sell them at P35 apiece. The 700 seedlings would be worth P24,500. Add to the cost of seeds expenses for seedling tray, black plastic nursery bag, potting medium, fungicide and other costs like marketing expenses and labor. That would probably amount to not more than P8,000. So there’s a very good margin for a growing cycle of 45 days.





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