New pomegranate cultivar for Chile and Peru -

New pomegranate cultivar for Chile and Peru

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New pomegranate cultivar for Chile and Peru

Chile and Peru have gained a new pomegranate cultivar branded Angel Red which looks set to open new export markets for the two countries.

Biogold South America will market the variety which Greg Smith discovered growing in his Californian property near Visalia, San Joaquin Valley, in 1996.

In California the cultivar matures in September, four weeks earlier than the established Wonderful variety, and has a bright red skin, a balanced flavor and soft seeds.

South Biogold commercial manager Flavia Maldini, said because of the variety's distinctive qualities it had a niche market, which meant his organization would like interested growers to form a club.

"Our idea is to look for companies that want to make a long-term development. We represent the variety in Chile and Peru and our idea is that both clubs combine to give the market a similar product for a longer period of time without saturation."

Univiveros has exclusive propagating rights in Chile and supervised the plantings of 12,000 trees in 2010 with the first fruit ready to harvest this season, meanwhile Peru has planted 90 hectares which will be ready to pick in 2013.

Univiveros manager Luis Fernández believes Angel Red has great potential for Chile.

"The variety is really going to cover a very good niche market early this year. I would compare our orchards to those in the central valley of California, both have very good handling, and behavior of this strain seems extraordinary. I think management will be key to take full advantage of this variety."

In the last few years California has planted about 500 hectares of Angel Red, which this season is expected to exceed 600 hectares, with an estimated planting rate of 75,000 trees per year.

Angel Red Pomegranate general manager Chad Fjeld, said about 500,000 kilograms of Angel Red was sold on the fresh fruit market in the U.S. last year achieving prices 75% higher than Wonderful.

"The acceptance of the fruit by the major retailers and their customers has been extraordinary and that makes us very optimistic about the future of Angel Red in the fresh fruit segment."

Overall, the industry in California has 12,000 hectares of pomegranates of which 90% are the Wonderful cultivar.

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