East-West seed has come out with a hybrid squash that is an improved version of Suprema, the first squash hybrid produced in the Philippines by plant breeders of the company some 35 years ago.

By Zac Sarian

Called Bella F1, the new hybrid retains the desirable qualities of Suprema such as excellent eating quality, high yield, good shipping quality, ideal size for the market, and consumer acceptance. The improvement is the increased resistance to the virus disease called SLCV or squash leaf curl virus. This is a disease that has affected squash plantings lately, resulting in great losses for farmers.

PILOT TESTER – One farmer who has pilot-tested Bella F1 is Roderick Gray of Umingan, Pangasinan. He has a five-hectare farm where he devoted a portion to grow the new hybrid earlier this year. He reported that Bella is a vigorous variety with wide leaves and longer vines. He also likes the uniform round flat fruits with green shiny skin, and the thick and semiglutinous (maligat) consistency of its yellow-orange flesh. The fruits weigh three to five kilos each, a size well-liked by customers. He did not report any incidence of leaf curl virus.

Roderick reports that Bella is also a prolific yielder of male flowers, which are also in demand as a vegetable in Pangasinan. A bundle of 10 flowers sells for ₱8, according to him. Umingan is often referred to as the “Kalabasa Capital” of Pangasinan. About a hundred hectares are devoted to this vegetable crop in the town.

For more information, visit East-West Seed Philippines

This story appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s September 2017 issue.