Promising results for Israeli pomegranate varieties in central Chile

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Promising results for Israeli pomegranate varieties in central Chile

The prospect of an alternative to the Wonderful variety looks increasingly likely for Chilean pomegranate growers, after tests for three Israeli cultivars sprouted strong results in the country's central zone. granada ARO

The Israeli Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) varieties Emek, Shany and Kamel first hit Chilean soil in 2011 led by Subsole as the founding partner for the release, launching trials in the northern test zones of Melipilla, Ovalle and Vicuña in the IV (Coquimbo) region.

This northern area has proven successful for Wonderful pomegranates too, however this North American variety has not performed as well further south from the V (Valparaiso) to VII (Maule) regions.

In contrast, the Emek, Shany and Kemel varieties - harvested 60, 45 and 20 days later than Wonderful respectively - took to the conditions of Curicó in Maule very well, with evaluations in March and April. Harvested between 15-30 days later than Ovalle pomegranates, these cultivars give Chilean growers opportunity to expand their potential planting area for the crop.

The Curicó trial fruit did not show sunburn damage, which is one of the main reasons for discarding export fruit with Wonderfuls. In addition the varieties had early coloring, protecting the fruit from damage and also conducive to bright coloring in the aril seeds.

The biggest drawcard for these Israeli cultivars however is their much higher packout rate of 80% compared to Wonderful's 50-55% rate in Chile.

Companies Subsole, Viverosur and Portofino Ltda founded the business Pomegranate Chile S.A. last year to develop the varieties, while other players Subsole, Dole, Plaza Vieja, Valle Maule and Agrícola Garcés have also planted the ARO cultivars.

Emek, Shany and Kemel pomegranates are currently grown across 50ha of land, but this is expected to rise to 150-200ha by 2014, rising again to 300ha by 2015-16.

Chile has certification to export pomegranates to Russia, the European Union and the United States; the latter widened its protocol to include a systems approach for the fruit.





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