VARTC Horticulture Section derived from the fruits & spices program developed at VARTC between 2006 and 2009. This program has been initiated to diversify the fruits tree activities in order to develop agro-forestry products with high added-value that could contribute to increase small farmers’ incomes.
At this date VARTC Horticulture Section includes several collection and varieties of fruits, vegetables and spices such as pepper, citrus, bread fruits, pineapples, island cabbages, avocados, mangos, ramboutan and also nangaille nuts and dragon fruits more recently. VARTC aims to implement new programs to complete current collections and to introduce new species in the station (strawberry, vanilla…).
Horticulture Section activities consist mainly to maintain current collection in the nursery ad in fields, and to duplicate and distribute selected varieties in the country.
The initial interest of this collection of fruits trees was to discover and to develop this sector that is now in mutation due to the development of the local market.
The second objective was to learn and to implement techniques of duplication and propagation such as layering and grafting in order to train farmers.
- Citrus : twenty varieties of citrus have been introduced at VARTC between 2008 and 2012 with support of IAC (Institut Agronomique Néo-Calédonien) and Department of Agriculture. The current collection includes species of oranges, mandarins, pomelos and lemons. Grafted plants and fruits are available for sale (refer to the section “products”).
« Santo Agrum’ » project is conducted with the support of IAC and will enable VARTC to complete this collection in 2017-2018.
Bread fruits : bread fruit tree collection includes more than 150 accessions and is seen as one of the most important one in the Pacific area. Those accessions have been introduced mainly in 2004 and latter in 2009 Fond Pacifique and PAPGREEN projects.
Bananas : VARTC’s banana tree collection counts more than 100 varieties; they were almost all introduced in the frame of PAPGREEN project.
- Pineapples : VARTC planted a demonstration plot using more than 1,500 pineapple plants. For instance, VARTC teams perform different spraying techniques with blossoming agents in the frame of a project that aims to produce pineapples out of season.
• Island cabbage : an important collection of island cabbages is available at VARTC. A project dedicated to island cabbages has been initiated by the « Bele project » in collaboration with SPC.
VARTC plans to introduce shortly other vegetables in its plantation and nursery in order to diversify the vegetables supply on the local markets.
VARTC pepper collection has 7 accessions. The pepper known as “pepper from Tagabé” grows very well and has very appreciated organoleptic characteristics. More than one hundred plants grown in nursery have been transferred in fields. Pepper seedlings but also black and white pepper (whole or ground) and fresh green pepper can be sold at VARTC, according to the season. Refer to the section “Products”.
The 1st nursery has been built to produce and duplicate by grafting or cutting some vegetal materials fragile or needing specific shadow. Many species are preserved in this nursery.
It has been hugely damaged by TC Zena in April 2016, and has been renovated in 2017. A quarantine area has been added when it has been renovated in 2017.
Workshops are regularly animated by the VARTC Horticulture Section in the frame of projects supported by local NGOs. “Pineapple cultivation” and “fruits transformation” are both workshops that are particularly appreciated.