Chile: Leading kiwifruit nursery plants in new area to escape Psa
A Chilean-Italian company has established the South American country's first kiwifruit nursery in Ovalle, a Psa-free area of the Coquimbo region, and is due to carry out its first shipments this year.
Dalpane Vivai Chile was formed a decade ago between Viverosur and one of Europe's leading kiwifruit nurseries Dalpane Vivai in Italy, owned by brothers Giampaolo y Maurizio Dalpane.
Chile's kiwifruit industry has been severely affected by the Psa disease over recent years, as it has spread north through the country.
As a result of this Dalpane Vivai has been searching for new areas unaffected by the disease in order to propagate various varieties, including New Zealand-origin Wilkins and the Italian-developed yellow Dori.
"In Chile we partnered with Viverosur and we have formed the most important kiwifruit nursery in the country, introducing new varieties and...delivering bare-root plants to the market, which allows the producers to save at least a year on entering the productive stage," Giampaolo Dalpane told Fresh Fruit Portal.
He explained he had also experienced the spread of the kiwifruit vine disease in Italy, and now its advance through Chile had generated serious problems for the industry in the South American country too.
In Chile, Psa was first detected in the southern Maule region in 2011 from where it eventually spread to the central Valparaiso and Metropolitan regions in 2015.
Dalpane said the company had had a plan to overcome the challenges, but explained that regulation had got in the way.
"In 2015 we were ready with four hectares of new greenhouses imported from England to produce Psa-free plants under plastic, as we do in Italy," Dalpane said.
"But the Chilean legislation wasn't regulated at that time and we were subject to the same rules as an open greenhouse in a regulated area - meaning at least 5km from where Psa occurs."
The situation led the company to take the drastic decision to establish a nursery in an area of the country where the fruit was not grown.
"For this we traveled to the region of Coquimbo in the year 2015 and between La Serena and Ovalle we determined some areas that qualified in terms of water and soil. We already had the climate," he said.
"That's how we arrived in Ovalle and we started with this nursery. In 2017 we will carry out our first dispatches of kiwifruit plants from a region free of Psa to any part of the country, and we could even export in the future."
Dalpane Vivai produces various kiwifruit varieties, with a focus on Hayward and its European-developed clones like Meris. It also grows the New Zealand-developed Wilkins, a green variety with an elongated shape.
"However, our main project nowadays is the AC1536 variety, a yellow kiwifruit of the Dori brand, which has been planted in Europe with much success, and this year we will reach around 130 hectares," he said.
Dalpane Vivai general manager Fanny Moraga Giovanetti explained Chile's Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG) had helped by moving the plant materials after having analyzed them to ensure they were Psa-free.
He added that for now there would be no additional movement of plant material from the south to the north.