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Spain: Fortuna strawberries continue to lead in terms of acreage

The varietal range of strawberries from Huelva is still wide, with a diverse range of genetic materials. This responds to the different criteria that Huelva-based producers have set to reach the markets and maximise the profitability of their productions. In this context, the Fortuna variety continues to be the most popular one among Huelva's producers. In the 2017/2018 season, it has been the most planted variety for the fourth consecutive year, according to official data released by the Institute of Agricultural and Fishing Research and Training of the Council of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development of the Government of Andalusia.

The Fortuna, which is a result of a genetic improvement program carried out by the University of Florida, and whose rights belong to the breeder Ekland Marketing Company of California, EmcoCal, accounts for 37% of the acreage in Huelva this campaign. This is almost four percentage points more than in the previous year and 18 points ahead of its immediate competitor, the Rociera variety of Fresas Nuevos Materiales (FNM), a company owned by Huelva's producers themselves.

The Fortuna variety is characterised by its precocity, productivity and balance throughout the production season. Although some problems were reported this year during the first months of the planting, Alberto Garrocho, president of the producer organization Freshuelva, said that these mostly affected just the production area of Condado de Huelva, since the planting in other production areas was carried out normally.

As for Fresas Nuevos Materiales, it is worth noting that it has three varieties with a significant share of the production. In addition to the Rociera, which accounts for 19.3% of the acreage (a percentage that almost doubles that of last year, when it entered with great force for the first time), it also has the Primoris and Rábida. The former accounts for 8.1% of the total and the latter for 6.3%; both have lost a bit of ground compared to last year.

The Ifapa report also points out that despite the plantation limits established by breeders, club varieties continue to be greatly important in Huelva. In this market segment, the Victory accounts for a significant 11.8%. This variety has an important producer in the SAT La Redondela, which markets its strawberries under the Taray brand.

The Victory belongs to Plant Sciences/Berry Genetics and has grown by two percentage points compared to last year. It is characterised by a somewhat smaller fruit than that of other varieties, but its balanced organoleptic qualities are highly appreciated.

Also worthy of note is the position that the San Andreas variety has held for years. It is perhaps the most precocious of all strawberries grown in the province of Huelva. The material belongs to the University of California and is marketed by the Cordoba-based company Eurosemillas. It accounts for 6.8% of the acreage, which entails a significant decrease of half a point compared to the previous year.

The Ifapa report offers percentages of plants by variety and is based on the information provided by the companies responsible for the various breeding programs.


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