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Resistance improvement is important for entire fresh produce sector
Brassicas grown on 4.5 million hectares globally
The estimated area of brassicas is 4.5 million hectares globally, and the largest area by far is in Asia, with 3.6 million hectares. In Europe, the area consists of nearly half a million hectares (450,000). Commercially, brassica is therefore an important crop. Last January, 200 stakeholders from the cabbage sector from all over Europe were invited to the Brassica Conference organised by Syngenta. Syngenta’s improvement programme pays great attention to resistance, in part due to increasing social pressure to reduce the number of pesticides, according to Emmanuel Deschamp, Syngenta's Brassica Product Manager.
White cabbage is the type of cabbage grown most often. Globally, there’s 1.8 million hectares of white cabbage, followed by napa cabbage with 1.5 million hectares. Cauliflower has nearly one million hectares, and is therefore also an important crop (970,000 hectares), and its area is almost three times larger than that of broccoli (300,000 hectares), which is also considered an important crop. Red cabbage (35,000 hectares), Brussels sprouts (22,000 hectares), Savoy cabbage (16,000 hectares) and kale (12,000 hectares) have considerably smaller areas. The brassica area is distributed as follows throughout the world: Asia has 3.6 million hectares, Europe has 450,000 hectares, Africa has 360,000 hectares, Latin America has 193,000 hectares, North America has 154,000 hectares and the Middle East has 60,000 hectares.
The conference took place in St Pol-de-Léon, France’s most important cabbage production region. Various topics came up for discussion regarding the cabbage market during the event: consumption and trends, global production, the rising problem of disease resistance, with particular attention to responsible crop protection strategies and resistance-improvement perspectives.
Video of the Brassica event.
Brussels sprouts, Savoy cabbage, white and red headed cabbages were presented in the demonstration fields, and innovations such as red kale, the purple Coraletta sprouts and the three Frivole varieties (green, purple and red) marketed under the Frisetta name were shown. Attention paid to disease resistance could also be seen in the field by means of various disease tests, which clearly showed the effect on reference varieties, in addition to resistant or less sensitive varieties.
Syngenta’s resistance improvement programmes focus on three important diseases: Mycosphaerella, clubroot and white rust (Albugo), and it focuses on research into thrips. “In the current context, with high disease pressures and social expectations to reduce the use of pesticides, Syngenta’s work in the field of resistance improvement is of great importance to the entire sector. By having a strong R&D organisation, growers know they can count on us to continue making their productions more sustainable due to innovative resistant varieties, and by continuing to guarantee safe and qualitative products for consumers,” Emmanuel says.
For the first time ever, the participants of the Brassica Conference were given the chance to see and judge new varieties that promise resistance perspectives:
Two Savoy cabbages that combine clubroot, white rust and Mycosphaerella resistance;
A Brussels sprout resistant to white rust and Mycosphaerella;
A Brussels sprout and a headed cabbage to supplement the clubroot-resistant assortment;
A red headed cabbage resistant to Mycosphaerella;
A white headed cabbage resistant to Mycosphaerella.