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PROSPECTS

The Andes. Pepino is an ideal home garden plant; it grows readily from cuttings and is cheap to produce, and increased demand could greatly benefit home producers. Given attention by horticulturists, a colorful array of pepino types—both traditional and newly bred—could bring increased appeal to consumers from Colombia to Argentina.

The transition to more extensive production has already begun. In the coastal valleys of Peru, there are some large fields of pepinos (usually rotated with potatoes, corn, and other crops). Lima is provided with the fruits year-round, and a small export trade has begun. In Ecuador, too, a few fields are grown under advanced agricultural conditions. In Chile, more than 400 hectares of pepinos are planted in the Longotoma Valley, and increasing quantities are being exported, notably to Europe. Formation of cooperatives to develop markets, coordinate transport, and control quality could lead to greater local and export earnings.

There are parts of the Andes that are unaware of this crop. In Colombia, for instance, it is hardly known in most of the highland departments, although in San Agustín (Valle) and Manizales (Caldas), there are large farms (fincas) that specialize in pepinos.

Other Developing Areas. In addition to its wide cultivation in outh America, the plant has been introduced to Central America, Morocco, Spain, Israel, and the highlands of Kenya. Relatively unknown in other nations but worth trying in all warm-temperate areas, this seems to be a crop with a big future fast approaching. Commercial pepino production has been suggested for southern Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, the highlands of Haiti, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, and Mexico—as well as for the cooler areas of Africa and Asia (particularly China).

Industrialized Regions. This crop has potential for production in many parts of Europe, North Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, North America, Australasia, South Africa, and Japan, although in some areas it may have to be grown under glass or plastic to produce the sweet, unblemished fruits demanded by the top-paying markets.

As noted, pepino is already an established crop in New Zealand. In the United States, it is grown on a small scale in Hawaii and California, where several hundred hectares are now under commercial cultivation. This seems to be the beginning of a promising new addition to the horticultural resources of much of the temperate zones.



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