The need for varietal replacement in the fruit industry

The national fruit industry is experiencing a great dynamism in terms of replacement and varietal updating and nurseries have undoubtedly been the protagonists inserted as users in the world of plant genetics, responsible for the hospitalization, evaluation and commercial introduction of virtually all new varieties and foreign rootstocks that the industry has adopted and that have finally allowed to achieve greater competitiveness in the sector.

To facilitate this replacement, we have made progress in streamlining the entry of new materials, both in the best management of official quarantines, and in the recognition of production centers abroad in joint work with the Agricultural and Livestock Service.

Thanks to this work, to date most of the fruit genetic programs developed in the world are represented in Chile. Very valuable and extremely necessary is also the effort of improvement that has been developed with very good and promising results by various actors in Chile working in a collaborative and coordinated way to achieve common objectives that benefit and empower our fruit industry with materials better adapted to local conditions or specific requirements such as arriving in a better condition to the markets.

The change is marked not only by the competitiveness that imposes on our sector the irruption of increasingly relevant actors in the global context of fruit production like Peru, we are also obliged to be in tune with the demand and preferences of consumers, who they look for foods with better organoleptic qualities, of greater nutritional contribution, etc.

Moreover, There is the need for fruit growers to have varieties of higher productivity, easy handling, better post-harvest, quality and higher calibres, which strongly affect profitability and can make the difference between staying in business or dying in the attempt.

Numerous new varieties take more and more prominence and displace those traditionally produced in different species.

In table vines we have experiences and research trials carried out by leading experts to validate the varieties that best adapt to our edaphoclimatic conditions and both productive and commercial requirements. Basically what is expected of the new varieties in Chile is high productivity, seedless varieties, good calibers, good organoleptic quality, resistance to splittings and rots, good condition and postharvest life, easy handling in the field, easy ripening and color taking, that adapt to the preferences of different markets and that are available for harvest in times of less competition at destination.

According to the 2016 Viveros Yearbook, which reflects the commercialization of fruit and vegetable plants in Chile, emblematic varieties such as Red Globe that until 2014 continued to occupy the first place as the best seller, begins to fall sharply to pass in 2016 to the eighth position, with 4 new seedless red varieties surpassing it.

In blueberries varieties of higher calibres, better yields and firmer fruit are required that can arrive in good condition at destination, considering that we not only point to the USA, where we expect approximately 10 days of travel, but also to China and Korea with 30 and until 40 days.

In terms of raspberry, it seeks to replace Heritage (traditional variety planted in Chile), for more productive varieties, remontantes, fruit with higher calibers and better post-harvest condition than Heritage.

In the case of almond trees, the possibility of incorporating new areas or geographical areas of production that traditional varieties can not cover due to climatic problems (mainly frosts or bad weather during flowering) is of interest. This is being achieved with new varieties of late flowering and self-fertile.

In cherry, meanwhile, work continues to obtain earlier or later varieties in order to extend the supply and out of phase with production picks, which are precocious, more productive, firm and good travelers, of good calibers and sweetness, resistant or tolerant to the partridura by rains and of less requirements of cold hours to add new areas of production to the crop.

In peaches and nectarines, it has been working hard and as a main objective in varieties that have a good postharvest life, selecting those that can support well over 40 days of storage. It also seeks high calibers and productivity, better flavors, high levels of sugar. On the other hand, it is important that they are easy to use in the garden (for example, that they do not require defoliation to take good color), that the harvest is uniform and can be concentrated in a single pass. Ideally, have varieties of white and yellow pulp with good characteristics that can cover the entire season from late November to March. In nectarines, sweet yellow pulp lines are being developed with Chinese consumers in mind.

Plums also seek long postharvest life, with good flavors, good productivity and size. Mainly it is worked with plums of red and yellow pulp, which at the same time are red and black skin, that is 4 different products, which are present all season.

In apples and pears, however, it is opting for varieties that clearly differ from traditional ones, that the market pays them well and that they can be used with registered trademarks. In this sense, some varieties of red pulp, of different shades of red, of small size that are marketed in containers similar to tennis ball tubes, crisp apples and with new flavors, are being tested and successful in apples. In pears they are testing hybrids between European and Asian of different colors, other traditional, but with much better presentation.

For its part in hazel trees, a very attractive crop now, producers can access new genetics that achieve better fruit yields and quality at better prices than the more traditional varieties.

In Kiwis there are also interesting varieties, mainly of yellow flesh. It is also working on the introduction and evaluation of new Actinidia materials to renew the varietal offer and increase productivity, thus improving the competitiveness of the crop.

It is important to mention the work done on rootstocks, which in walnuts has been fundamental for the incorporation of resistance or tolerance to nematodes and phytophthora and in general adaptation to heavier soils or asphyxia conditions, as well as greater productivity and homogeneity (when propagated clonally ). This has allowed exploring new production areas, mainly towards the south of the country with this species. In pits, basically seeks to replace the traditional nemaguard improving adaptation to replanting situations, tolerance to root asphyxiation and salts, among others, which after many years of effort has allowed different rootstocks are available now that exceed these parameters to nemaguard.

Source: Maritrini Lapuente, general manager of Viveros de Chile AGV. Portalfruticola.com

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