China: Zespri, Plant & Food Research establish kiwifruit experimental center in Sichuan

May 16 , 2018

New Zealand’s Zespri and Plant & Food Research have opened a kiwifruit experimental station in China’s southwestern Sichuan province.

The test station in Mianzhu is the first established jointly by the two entities in China, although Zespri has already set up trials and a kiwifruit ‘center for excellence’ in Shaanxi province.

Work will be carried out to identify which varieties are best suited to the Sichuan to the local environment.

“China has many world-class new varieties of kiwifruit development projects. Many new varieties of kiwifruit have also been produced commercially in China,” Zespri chief innovation and sustainable development officer Carol Ward said.

“The Chinese kiwifruit industry is developing rapidly and its total production volume ranks first in the world,” she said, noting China is Zespri’s largest market for New Zealand kiwifruit.

“Our long-term investment in Mianzhu with the New Zealand Plant & Food Research is the first entity research base we have jointly developed in China. In the future, we will develop more research bases to identify the best kiwifruit varieties in other regions.”

Once the most suitable varieties for the region are identified, orchard management practices will also be established to then pass onto local growers.

“At present, we are looking for more opportunities to cooperate with Chinese scientists and breeders to jointly evaluate Chinese kiwifruit varieties,” said Ward.

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