The Aragon Agro-food Research and Technology Center (CITA) will coordinate a project to study the viability of the cultivation of new Japanese plum varieties in the region. Its results will have a direct application in Aragon's main fruit growing areas, mainly in Valdejalón , Zaragoza, Bajo Aragón-Caspe and Bajo Cinca, with different areas both inside and outside the Natura 2000 Network.
The people in charge of this project Javier Rodrigo, Sara Herrera and Brenda Guerrero, researchers from the CITA Horticultural Unit, will be in charge of the technical follow-up, conducting tests and analyzing the results. "With this project, we intend to look for alternatives to fruit varieties that are widespread, but which are very unprofitable in Aragon and have become obsolete," says Javier Rodrigo. One of the possibilities is the Japanese plum, which yields a much thicker, more rounded fruit and of different colors. "In addition, we could extend the fruit's harvesting period, thereby increasing its profitability," he said.
This initiative seeks to determine whether the new Japanese plum varieties can adapt successfully to Aragon's conditions by looking into aspects such as the varietal structure and cold needs, the self (in) compatibility and incompatibility alleles, the phenological characterization and the pollination needs.
The cooperation group is made up of researchers from CITA, as well as by Viveros Mariano Soria, the Association of Fruit Growers of Caspe (Afruccas), Plantaciones Algairén (as beneficiaries), and Agrostock, the Polytechnic University School of La Almunia and Andrea María Cistelecan as partners of the project.
There are 1,000 hectares devoted to the crop in Aragon that yield over 7,000 tons which would benefit from the information generated by this project. In Spain, the plum tree is the second most common stone fruit in terms of production, behind peaches and nectarines.
The project, which will be carried out until 2022, is funded with 119,770 Euro from the the 2014-2020 Aragon Rural Development Program, co-financed by the Feader fund and the Government of Aragon.