The partners of Onubafruit (Coophuelva, Cobella, Freslucena, Cartayfres and SAT Condado), which account for some 1,000 hectares of raspberry plantations, with an annual production that reaches 11 million kilos, are proceeding with the crop's varietal renewal. According to Marco Antonio Vaz, head of R&D of the Huelva-based group, there will be a full replacement of the Imara and Kweli varieties with the Shani, Wengi and Bella ahead of the next 2019/2020 campaign.
Vaz estimates that in this initial process of varietal change, more than 1 million plants of the three new varieties will be used, although the goal is to reach four million in the next two campaigns.
Marco Antonio Vaz stresses that with these new varieties, “we can grow in terms of volume during the winter period, from December to March, which is the most difficult time to produce this berry, and also when the highest prices are recorded.”
Of the five hectares of the Onubafruit experimental farm in Lepe, near Cobella, two of them are dedicated to the cultivation of raspberries. As pointed out by the head of R&D of the company, “we can obtain new raspberry varieties in this farm every five years.”
Vaz is convinced that raspberries are the berries with the best future, because “they need more professionalism and more technology to achieve better results, especially if these efforts are oriented to the niches that pay the best prices."
New blueberries by 2022
Regarding blueberries, which are also being researched at the experimental farm, the head of R&D at Onubafruit says that “in the near future, we will have a portfolio of varieties that will give this crop a quality boost.”
In fact, Marco Antonio Vaz says that “we have our own blueberry program, which we launched in 2013, and we are currently working with the first selections. We plan to start the process to protect about 8 varieties in the community office. The idea is to have commercial plantations of these new blueberries by 2022.”