we live and eat our passion…

papaya production

We are really passionate about our fruit, but especially about Papaya.

Is there a difference between Papaya and Paw-Paw? No. The old “Hortus Gold” variety, which had yellow, smelly flesh, used to be called Paw-Paw. The Papaya we know today has beautiful red sweet flesh, but Papaya is still sometimes referred to as Paw-Paw. It is actually the same thing!

Ever noticed that the Papaya trees in your backyard either produce round fruit, oval fruit or no fruit? The reason for this is that Papayas are sexual plants! Female trees produce round fruit, hermaphrodite trees oval fruit and males no fruit. Male trees are very scarce though.

Dr Aart Louw, an internationally renowned Papaya breeder, is in charge of our Papaya Breeding Program. The Head of our Research & Development Department is Gerrit Nieuwoudt. His department functions on a multi-disciplinary level, handling anything from breeding, pest & disease control, general horticulture as well as post-harvest treatment.  Gerrit has recently been instrumental in finetuning a protocol to enable us to sea-freight papaya to destinations as far as Europe.   Papaya is a tropical crop that is grown under subtropical conditions in South Africa. A great deal of emphasis is therefore placed on breeding cold tolerant lines. Resistance to soil-borne diseases like Pythium and Phytophtera, is also of paramount importance. As we need to guarantee good eating quality by a certain sell-by date, shelf-life is a determining factor when selecting genetic material. Taste, however, is by far the most important characteristic we pursue. The R&D team regularly invites Neofresh staff to participate in blind tasting sessions. Needless to say, this is an exercise which is eagerly awaited! We truly live and EAT our passion: papaya and litchi! For a number of years genetic material has been sourced from all over the world. Careful cross breeding has so far resulted in three different lines being introduced commercially:
Papino®, Neo-Pino®, Neo-Essence®


Firm flesh
Red flesh
Smooth skin
Long shelf-life
Sweet taste


Smaller fruit
Red flesh:
Softer flesh
Sweet taste


“Baby” of our breeding program.
Extremely sweet
Red flesh
Soft aromatic flesh
Same size as Papino®

Processed (Canned and Relishes)

Papaya Relish


Papaya in Syrup


litchi production

Whether you call it litchi or lychee, we love it and as with Papaya we have been evaluating different cultivars for many years. The characteristics we focus on when looking for new varieties are eating quality, fruit size, shelf life, brix, seed size and seedlessness. Our dream has always been to have a five month litchi season, something that has not been achieved anywhere in the world by a single producer. Although only in small volumes, we are proud to say that this dream has been achieved for the first time during the 2013/2014 season. This was the result of careful selection of specific cultivars grown in different microclimates.

the cultivars currently grown by neofresh

Third Month Red

Earliest cultivar
Good size / Large
Good red skin colour

Early Delight

Cultivar owned by ARC
Mauritius parentage
Slightly bigger than Mauritius
Good eating quality
Smaller seed than Mauritius
High yielding
Early season: Oct-Nov
Red skin colour

Fai Zee Siu

Similar and/or bigger than Mauritius (Very big)
Generally small seed
Green-red/pink colour
Excellent eating quality
Excellent shelf life
Early season: Oct-Nov


Standard South African variety
Good size/Large
Red skin colour
Excellent eating quality
Good yield
Mid season: Nov-Dec

Wai Chee

Smaller in size than Mauritius
Fragrant taste, good eating quality
Small seed
Late season (mid Jan – end Feb)


Larger in size than Mauritius
Good eating quality (Soft flesh/ Sweet)
Very late (Feb – Mar)

Besides pursuing characteristics such as early or late season the Neofresh team is also evaluating other niche characteristics such as seedlessness.

red lych

Neofresh has the exclusive rights to the “Red Lych” Sulphur–free technology in the Southern Hemisphere. With consumers becoming more health conscious we believe that there is a place for sulphur-free products. Certain markets such as Canada do not allow for Sulphur treated products. Our focus regarding Red Lych is therefore specialized niche markets prepared to pay a premium for the health benefits associated with sulphur-free products.

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