Despite Conférence's success, innovations are always sought after in pear cultivation. In 2009 Boomkwekerij René Nicolaï, Belgium introduced the new pear variety Dicolor. The sales of this variety take place through a closed chain concept through the Limburgse Tuinbouw Veiling and Bel'Export, the same concept as used for Corina. According to Tony Derwael of Bel'Export the pear is certainly a commercial success. "But a lot of things still have to be taken care of in the technical aspects of growing this pear."Strong interest
The development of the pears is a collaboration between the group Geefa, René Nicolaï and the Czech company Sempra. It's a mix between the Czech variety Holenická (Forelle) and Williams. "An up and coming variety which was rediscovered," says Tony. "The production was moderate this year. The harvest was not as high as expected. In the area of sales we still have a three year contract with the British Marks & Spencer. They are the only party marketing the Dicolor at the moment. Right now there is very strong interest and demand to be able to trade this pear from England, Germany and Scandinavia. On the English market everyone is very curious whether this pear can match the niche market of the Forelle. The Forelle is sold in the up market sector that we are obviously aiming for with Dicolor. Unfortunately there isn't enough production to meet the market demand at the moment."
Challenges in cultivation
Derwael laments there there are still many challenges in cultivation. "Dicolor can't be compared to other varieties and is sensitive to frost. On the other hand the pear is rather fertile, so it also has to be thinned out," he continues. "Dicolor is also susceptible to tearing damage, so sorting is difficult. There are around twenty growers with this variety and they are now trying to grow differently by using the candelabra system. Every pear needs to get as much light as possible for colouring. The pear also has to rub against the branch as little as possible, this is taken into account by growing it on the underside of the branch as far as is possible. All these things should mean a better yield for the growers, which is the main thing. We are trying to find solutions to deal with the difficulties and generate more production over the next few years."
"Despite everything Dicolor is a delicious pear and a commercial success. The red blush is around 50% of the fruit surface. The pears also have a shiny skin. The flavour is sweet, refreshing and aromatic," concludes Derwael.