Spain: Mandanova, a new seedless mandarin variety

Last week, a new mandarin variety was presented in Valencia, at the headquarters of Ava Asaja. It is the Mandanova, a seedless variety obtained through irradiation of buds of the Nova variety. It was first irradiated in South Africa fifteen years ago and now the first seedlings are being marketed in Spain. The presentation was attended by a hundred producers, as new varieties and innovations in citrus fruits always arouse considerable interest in the sector.

"The main characteristic of this mandarin is that it is seedless, which is fundamental for its marketing and very appreciated by producers, as they are unable to induce them in neighbouring plots," says the president of the Association of Plant Variety Operators (ASOVAV), Rafael Grau. "Mandarins are very associated with children's consumption, so the seeds, given the discomfort they cause in their consumption and even the possibility of choking, are a factor that can reduce their commercial value," he adds.

The harvest and marketing schedule last from November to the end of January. "It is an easy-peeling mandarin with thick skin of an intense reddish colour. Moreover, as opposed to other mandarins or clementines that are harvested in the same period, it resists rainfall better, so it should not suffer problems related to excess moisture," explains Francisco Llátser, technical director of the Agrupación de Viveristas de Agrios (AVASA). "The only drawback that this variety may have is its sensitivity to Alternaria."

The expert points out that the productivity of this mandarin is high, allowing for semi-intensive plantings. "It achieves better results with the Carrizo pattern, although it also admits others, like the Cleopatra. We still have to be cautious and see how it will acclimatise, since the first commercial harvests will still take about 4 years to arrive," says Llátser.

It is a protected variety, so a club is expected to be created to manage both its productive cultivation and its protection and correct labelling. "The orderly sale of seedlings, with the royalty payment model, should prevent an excessive production and guarantee better returns for all links in the chain. This management model is starting to be imposed in citriculture and the Mandanova variety meets these requirements," concludes Rafael Grau.

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