Brazilian scientists develop new sweet cherry variety

Sweet fruits that are normally consumed fresh include grapes, guava or mango. A new cherry variety falling under the same category is being developed in Petrolina, Pernambuco, by Embrapa Semiárido. The goal is to expand the market and turn the planting of this kind of fruit into a more promising option in irrigated areas of the Brazilian semi-arid region. 

"Despite the fact that the nutritional benefits of this fruit are widely known to the general public, especially its extraordinary vitamin C content, its excessive acidity discourages consumption," says researcher Flavio de Souza Francia. 

What matters most is to have varieties with a well-defined use: for fresh consumption and for the processing industry. The issue at present is that sour cherries are produced on a commercial scale, as there is no sweet variety. 

Nowadays, the fruits are highly sour and have a very short shelf life; therefore, they tend to be used by the processing industry for the production of pulp and juice. With the market restricted to industrial processing, prices are not always good enough to cover the high production costs. 

The supply of sweet varieties could result in a significant increase in the fruit's demand, says Flavio de France. It will mostly benefit small growers in the north-east. 

The region of Pernambuco has 5,000 hectares of cherry crops; almost 80% of Brazil's entire acreage.

Source: Embrapa

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