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Spain: Project for the promotion of Calatayud and Aranda cherries
The CITA is collaborating through the Horticulture Unit in the project of the Rural Development Plan "Cooperation Group for the promotion of the cherries of the Community of Calatayud and the Comarca del Aranda". The project would make it possible, among other things, to introduce new varieties and extend their marketing periods.
The project, which is already underway thanks to Feader and Government of Aragon funds, aims to increase the value of the cherries grown in these areas, namely by analysing the existing varietal structure, comparing the fruit characteristics of the varieties cultivated in the area with those of the same varieties grown in lower areas, and launching a quality charter for the cherries cultivated in this territory.
The Association for the Integral Rural Development of the Community of Calatayud and the Comarca del Aranda and the Agrarian Transformation Society Niño Jesús de Aniñón are the promoters of the research project, which also counts with the collaboration of the Counties of the Community of Calatayud and Aranda, UAGA, the SAT Vallevicort, CITA and the Centre for Agro-Food Transfer (the latter belonging to the Government of Aragon). All partners have experience in the cultivation of cherry trees or knowledge about the area, and the project brings different agents of the sector together.
For its part, the CITA participates through the Horticulture Unit, which has a long history in programs for the selection and evaluation of new varieties and patterns adapted to the regional conditions, capable of responding to new market demands. CITA's cherry collection consists of more than 100 varieties, including foreign varieties, along with others not traditionally cultivated, but with good potential characteristics, as well as material from local surveys in Aragon. The researchers taking part in the project, Javier Rodrigo, Teresa Juan and Erica Fadón, have extensive experience in these areas of expertise; Javier Rodrigo in reproductive biology of cherries and other stone fruit trees, including the rest process, pollination needs and the characterization and evaluation of varieties. Teresa Juan is an expert in the management of Quality Marks, and Erica Fadón in physiology and cherry varieties in mountain areas.
The project will have immediate practical results for producers and existing plantations, facilitating the marketing of their fruit. In the medium term, the introduction of new varieties can also help increase the profitability of the farms, as well as facilitate the implementation of new plantations. It could also be possible to extend the cherry harvesting schedule for fresh consumption with the introduction of quality late varieties, which would allow for cherries to be harvested until the end of July or the first half of August. This would have a clear socio-economic impact in the area and at national level, since it would allow the crop to be planted in depressed areas where there is no tradition of growing fruit trees, while also extending the period during which cherries are marketed.
The project will have an important practical component and its results will be transferred to the sector. The practical application of the knowledge acquired will allow for an efficient transfer of the project's results to the fruit sector in the medium and long term, and this will in turn have a positive impact on the quality of the cherries grown in the area.
Publication date: 9/26/2017
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