Chile announces new melon and watermelon varieties
After three years of development, Chile's Universidad Católica has introduced two new watermelon varieties and two new melon varieties with marketability and fruit processing in mind.
The project funded by the Agricultural Innovation Foundation (FIA) and the Ministry of Agriculture selected the Glamour and Diva melon varieties and the Ashira and Maxima watermelon varieties with the hopes of reaching major supermarket chains and eventually the export market.
Head researcher Dr. Christian Krarup commented on the benefits of reaching foreign markets, such as the U.S. where melon and watermelon consumption is growing.
"Developed countries have adapted to using fruits and vegetables with more value added, such as fresh, processed products. In the U.S., this market reaches US$16 billion in value," Dr. Krarup said.
Compared to other fruits, melons and watermelons have received little focus for technological development, explain FIA's innovation executive René Martorell.
"Due to this, the central objective of the project is to achieve the innovation required to develop a national offering of quality that has guaranteed characteristics. We want to capture part of the existing melon and watermelon demand in North America and for domestic use," Martorell said.
The new melon varieties are described as very sweet, firm and strong in color. The watermelons are described as dark red, crunchy and seedless.
Photo: Ashira watermelon, by FIA