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Spain: Development of intensive greenhouse papaya cultivation model

The Europapaya consortium, coordinated by the Experimental Station Cajamar and led by the firm Miguel García Sánchez e Hijos, together with the Almeria-based companies Biomip, Semillero Vitalplant and Gogarsa, has received a grant from the Centre for Technological and Industrial Development (CDTI) to develop a model for the intensive cultivation of papayas in greenhouses in the Spanish south east.

The project will be one of the R&D projects financed by the Feder-Innterconecta 2016 Program, co-funded with European Union Structural Funds, which aims to support experimental development initiatives in the form of projects in cooperation between companies based in the regions of Andalusia, the Canary Islands, Castile-La Mancha, Extremadura, Galicia, Murcia, Ceuta and Melilla.

The Experimental Station Cajamar, promoter and ideologist behind the project, will be in charge of the technical coordination of the same, together with Clever I + C, an Almeria-based R&D consultant specialised in Biotechnology and Agro-food.

The Europapaya Project has a budget of more than 1 million Euro and will be developed over 27 months. The end goal is to develop an integral model for the intensive cultivation of papayas in greenhouses in the south east of Spain.

To achieve this, Gogarsa will design and optimise a new greenhouse structure and climate control system, adapted to the characteristics and climatic demands of tropical papayas.

For its part, Semillero Vitalplant will address the challenge of developing techniques for the vegetative propagation of papayas in seedlings, such as grafting or in vitro tissue culture, as well as of optimising the selection of hermaphrodite plants by using molecular markers.

The company Biomip, specialised in the development of biological control solutions for agriculture, will focus on obtaining tools and biological control strategies specific to this crop.

Lastly, Miguel García Sánchez e Hijos will contribute its experience in the cultivation, handling and marketing of subtropical fruits and will be setting up the management and agronomic techniques necessary to optimise the productivity and quality of papayas in our conditions, as well as the post-harvest handling that will make it possible to hit the market with a differentiated product of excellent quality.

Furthermore, it will be responsible for evaluating the greenhouse model, plant material and biological control strategies developed in the project.

In addition to the business consortium and the Experimental Station Cajamar, the project also counts with the participation of research institutions such as the University of Almeria (AGR-222 Research Group, Subtropical and Mediterranean Fruit Research), the Polytechnic University of Madrid and the Technological Centre for Research and Development of Functional Food (Cidaf).

The researchers of the Experimental Station Cajamar and of the AGR-222 group of the University of Almeria have been pioneers in the field of research on papaya cultivation in greenhouses in the Peninsula since 2012. Their main goal is to contribute to diversifying the production of crops under plastic, taking full advantage of new knowledge on intensive horticulture and the auxiliary industry.

Source: Europa Press

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