Planasa plans to have commercial varieties of blueberries within four years

Planasa, the leading company in obtaining new plant varieties in the world, took advantage of its participation in the II Congress of Red Fruits that is being held in Huelva to publicize the main lines of research that it currently has open and that, of course It could be otherwise, they are focused on improvement programs in strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

Of all of them, Pedro Domínguez, head of R&D in strawberries and blueberries, highlighted the commitment that the Navarran company is making to obtain its own variety of blueberries. And this effort is based, as he commented, on the fact that this fruit has become the second berrie, worldwide, in production and consumption.

If in 1995 23.000 tons were produced, this figure could reach 600.000 tons in 2016. And the forecast is that this volume will continue to grow. In Huelva, the surface has doubled in two years and some 2.000 hectares are already counted.

Given these favorable expectations, Planasa's R&D managers did not hesitate and decided to launch a specific blueberry improvement program at the facilities they have owned for more than 30 years on the 'La Mogalla' farm, in Cartaya . The objective, Domínguez stressed, is to have its own commercial variety within about four years (2019-2020). Meanwhile, it will continue to distribute Fall Creek varieties, following the agreement reached with the North American company in 2009.

This research work is aimed at achieving an extra-early fruit, which can be collected between the months of December and January, which has, among other virtues, taste quality, good caliber and architecture, and that is easy to harvest.

With regard to strawberries, the person in charge of R&D in this plot stressed that although the first investigations began in Huelva in 1985, the technicians continue to work every day to adapt the consolidated varieties and the new ones to the producers' requirements. and consumers.

Between the demands of some and others stand out the precocity, that begins the production in the second fortnight of November or at the beginning of December, that is linear to avoid concentrations, that the strawberry is competitive until the end of the campaign, that has an easy collection and a good postharvest - that arrives well at destination -, and that is tolerant to diseases. At the level of consumption, he said, strawberries should have a high quality at both organoleptic and nutritional levels, meaning that "contain beneficial compounds for health".

In this sense, he pointed out that Planasa's lines of work are mainly focused on improving different short-day varieties, such as the already known Safari, Sabrina and Sahara, and those labeled 09-49 and 11-80, which stand out for their extra-earlyness , ease of harvesting, due to its organoleptic quality, its good production and its resistance to pathogens, as well as in the two advanced selections 06-39 and 10-36, which come from Candonga. Pedro Domínguez also alluded to 12-12R and 12-04R, which are day-neutral remontant varieties.

However, the Planasa specialist recalled that the results of crosses and selections of strawberry plants that are currently carried out can not be specified in commercial varieties for up to eight or ten years (2024-2026) .

Adelita and Lupita

For his part, the person in charge of R&D in raspberry and blackberry of Planasa, Antonio Soto, started his speech by highlighting the qualities of the Adelita and Lupita raspberries, which were obtained in the improvement program that was activated in 2004 in the center of Cartaya.

After emphasizing that these remontary varieties are complementary to productive level and have a magnificent commercial life, he recognized that the research carried out in this field is aimed at obtaining varieties that enjoy the winter months.

Regarding the blackberry varietal improvement program that Planasa started in 2011, Soto stressed that the intention of the company is to achieve a reference fruit in the markets in a short period of time. However, he admitted that there is much to learn from this berrie, as there is a great varietal demand and numerous cultivation techniques.

Nurseries in Burgos

In spite of this, the selection criteria that are carried out in Huelva are aimed at obtaining varieties of remontary blackberries that are produced in the winter months, that have a long commercial life and that stand out for their organoleptic properties (aroma, flavor, brix degrees). and of acidity), by its caliber and by its forms, that are attractive for the consumer.

Finally, Luis Hernández, Planasa's commercial manager, announced, as a novelty, that the Navarran company has decided to double the surface area of ​​the strawberry plant nurseries it owns in Burgos, from 7 to 14 hectares, given the positive results that have achieved in recent campaigns, above all because “there have been lower temperatures than in Segovia and Poland".


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