Prem also takes the opportunity to provide some important agronomic information, explaining how: “In organic production we need robust, vigorous varieties. What’s more, apples are a long-term investment, since it takes several years before production can be converted to organic. The most suitable varieties for organic production include Topaz, Bonita and Natyra, which are resistant to apple scab, but Gala and Pinova are also achieving good results in this sense.”
“Organic production is currently on the up in countries with the highest purchasing power,” continues Prem. “These are the markets where we are seeing the organic sector leaves its niche position behind and become attractive to bigger swathes of consumers. In fact the organic sector already accounts for more than 10% of the total sales volume in Austria and around 5‒7% in the most important markets, where it is continuing to rise. This demand is also helping to boost the organic conversion rate in the field of production.”
Last but not least, Prem dwells on the future of the organic apple growing market and on the challenges that lie ahead. “Throughout Europe, we are seeing very strong development in the field of organic research and testing. Expertise is expanding very rapidly among producers and this process is being accelerated by international knowledge sharing, which is helping to resolve problems linked to production. Furthermore, the vitality and robustness of the plants have become important characteristics in the new growing programs: new and better varieties should therefore become available at regular intervals. Soil management looks set to be a major challenge for organic production: the interaction between working the land, greening, warming, aeration, mineralization, and evaporation will play an increasingly fundamental part.”
“The Apple in the World” congress will take place from November 15‒16 at Interpoma, Fiera Bolzano.