Chilean research group on verge of bearing first fruit
A public-private research alliance in Chile will harvest the first fruits of its efforts to create crops that better resist disease and irregular shapes and survive storage better, the alliance announced last week.
After four years of research, the Technological Consortium of the Horticulture Industry will evaluate the cross-bred grapes, stonefruit and berries, the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation said in a news release. The Consortium is working with Chilean fruit exporters to make the new varieties commercially viable, according to the news release.
Nectarines, peaches and, most likely, plums will be harvested and evaluated in summer 2011, said Consortium General Manager Jaime Kong, according to the release.
The Consortium focused on stonefruit because of its rapid deterioration due to long travels times to markets and the frequency of misshapen fruit unfit for the market, which the group estimates can cost a grower 80% of production.
Alfonso Yévenez, executive of innovation for FIA and project supervisor, said that the “Consortium’s activities are designed to overcome two weaknesses that the country has as an exporter of fruit: the great distance that our products travel, adversely affecting the condition of the fruit, and the threat posed by new commercial varieties protected by intellectual property registration.”
The Consortium is also working on improving the productivity of grapes and developing cherries that will appeal to the market in China, the release said.