Onubafruit revolutionizes the European blueberry market
"We have the earliest blueberry variety currently in Huelva", says Francisco Sánchez, manager of onubafruit, who does not hide his satisfaction with the good results obtained in his ambitious varietal development program on this red fruit.
The second degree cooperative will begin in just 15 days the harvest of the first of its seven own varieties, anticipating the usual start of the Huelva blueberry campaign in March by three months. In this way, it manages to expand its commercial window, which will last until the end of July: “With this first variety we have production until February; then, we have five more for the months of January to the end of April and, finally, a seventh with which we will cover the period from mid-April to the end of July ”, explains Sánchez.
This first variety of own blueberry, which will be marketed in just two weeks, stands out for its good size and flavor, in line with the demands of the European market. But not only that. While the plant of other varieties takes two years to enter production, those developed by Onubafruit can be harvested in just one year: "The sowings in February and the harvests in the following February." In this way, the cooperative aligns itself, once again, with its producers, small farmers who could hardly wait two years to make the investment profitable.
Local consumption 12 months
Thanks to the introduction of these seven new varieties, Onubafruit will revolutionize the European blueberry market, now less dependent on imports. "With the expansion of our commercial window and local productions, there will hardly be a gap in the months of October, November and some of December for products from countries such as Chile or South Africa", Sánchez explains.
The cooperative is now working to expand the number of available blueberry plants in the coming seasons: "Right now we have 20.000, but in two years it will be 3 million," says Sánchez, who defends the expansion of the crop to supply the growing demand. "Blueberries are one of the foods with the highest amount of antioxidants, so their consumption will continue to increase," he insists.
Own varietal development
In addition to these seven varieties of blueberry, Onubafruit It also has six varieties of raspberry and is working on the development of its first strawberry materials. For Sánchez, there is no doubt: "In four or five years, all current blueberry varieties will disappear and, in fact, at Onubafruit we have already started our own varietal reconversion."
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