Tomato cultivars with virus tolerance in Central América

Call for Proposals
USD 132.960
Counterpart Amount:
USD 507.370
Execution time
36 Months
Total Amount:
USD 956.370
Participating countries:
Panama Panama Colombia Colombia Costa Rica Costa Rica Nicaragua Nicaragua The Savior The Savior
Funding source:
FONTAGRO Amount 14% Other agencies 33% Counterpart Amount 53%

Executive Summary

Tomato cultivation has great relevance in Central America, it is planted by some 53,000 small (0.5 ha) and medium (up to 5 ha) scale producers on about 12,000 ha. They achieve low yields that oscillate between 9 and 27 t / ha. The high incidence of Begomoviruses, transmitted by the whitefly (Bemicia tabaci) negatively affects fruit yields and quality, which is presumed to be linked to the limited variability of cultivars with tolerance genes. Management of these viruses is the main goal of the project, given that the genetic basis for identifying tolerance or resistance is unfortunately narrow. 

 There is also a narrow genetic variability in the populations of local tomato populations, despite this, this variability is a reservoir of genes to counter disease and physiological problems of the crop, as well as some desirable characteristics such as content of vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, etc.  As a product of the project, there is now a collection of more than 200 local and wild cultivars collected in the five countries, which were phenotypically and genotypically characterized in order to expand options for future genetic improvement work. 

 The project offers the possibility of contributing to improving tomato productivity by incorporating new commercial varieties based on the genetic resources identified and validated in this initiative. 

The technological solution

The technological solution can be summarized as the collection, genotypic and phenotypic characterization and the identification of tolerance or resistance to the Begomoviruses transmitted to the tomato crop by the whitefly (Bemisia tabaci). From this selection of superior genetic material, 5 promising cultivars were identified, which provides the basis for incorporating tolerance or resistance to the new tomato varieties that will be generated in the region. The whitefly is one of the most important insect pests in Central America and they have the ability to transmit different types of viruses to different crops, for this reason the technological solution that the project has sought is the genetic pathway. 


The project achieved important advances in the proposed objectives, essentially a gene pool of the genus Solanum lycopersicum, available to make tomato combinations that meet the economic expectations of producers, industry and consumers of this vegetable in the region. A total of 203 creole cultivars were collected in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama. Genotypic and phenotypic characterization of cultivars to identify tolerance or resistance to Begomovirus was carried out in each of the countries. The systematization of the information began with the incorporation of these data into the “DBGERMO” database. These materials will be used as a genetic base for breeding programs. At least five cultivars have been identified that have shown outstanding performance in yield and tolerance to Begomovirus. In summary, the stated objectives have been satisfactorily achieved. 

In the institutional front, the project suffered setbacks due to the little flexibility of the administrative systems of the national organizations, which caused delays in the preparation of financial and technical reports. 


The main beneficiaries of the project are the national programs responsible for generating superior tomato genetic resources. The environment also receives benefits since the tolerance or genetic resistance achieved means less use of synthetic chemicals. Finally, consumers will get the benefit of having healthier and better quality tomatoes 

Sustainable Development Goals

Responsible consumption and production Life on land Partnerships for the goals

Main donors

Participating Organizations

  • Instituto de Innovación Agropecuaria de Panamá (IDIAP) - Panamá
  • Centro Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria y Forestal (CENTA) - El Salvador
  • International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) - Colombia
  • Instituto Nacional de Innovación y Transferencia en Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Costa Rica
  • Instituto Nicaragüense de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Nicaragua

Graphics and data

Financing by country (in USD)
FONTAGRO Amount Other agencies Counterpart Amount

Geolocated Map


Project leader Panama

Omar Alfaro


Marcos Larin

With the support of
Fondo Coreano de Alianza para el Conocimiento en Tecnología e Innovación (KPK)