COT International is a company that creates and selects stone fruit varieties. Besides breeder varieties, the company offers its own varieties. “Our main selection criteria are self-fertility, regularity in production, taste quality and resistance to diseases like Sharka,” explains Marie-Laure Etève, manager of the company.
The Delicot apricot variety
“Delicot, Lady Cot and Swired are currently the three best-selling apricot varieties”
Currently in the middle of the planting process, the most popular varieties are the Delicot, Lady Cot and Swired. “These three varieties are very well-liked because they are self-fertile, regular in production, very tasty and resistant to Sharka. They really present a lot of assets.”
According to Marie-Laure, the biggest challenge for the stone fruit production of tomorrow is the resistance of the varieties. “Agriculture is progressing towards a reduction of phytosanitary products. As a result, varieties must be resistant to diseases, so we base ourselves on this criterion to develop new varieties. For the apricot, we are also working on developing late varieties,” explains Marie-Laure.
“Apricot planting is decreasing while the planting of cherry trees is increasing”
COT International exports to several European countries, but the company’s main markets remain France, Spain and Italy. In these three countries, Marie-Laure notes that the sale of apricot trees is decreasing. “This is partly due to the fact that many were planted in recent years, that there is more competition, and also that the recent weather events caused difficulties for the production, especially in France in 2019. On the other hand, we note an increase in the planting of cherry trees with regard to our varieties. Customers are now looking for varieties that are self-fertile and resistant to bursting. As far as the plum is concerned, the plant production has been stagnating in recent years. The varieties are most often selected based on their taste quality.”
Marie-Laure Etève and Lisa Herrero at Fruit Attraction 2017
A variety catalogue getting more diverse
The apricot is the company’s key products, but COT International has diversified its species over the past 5-6 years with the cherry and the plum. “For the cherries, we work with a Californian breeder. Therefore, our catalogue already has an interesting range of early cherries, of large calibers and very good quality. For the plums, we have 4 key varieties and we have started a hybridization programme in order to complete our variety calendar,” explains Marie-Laure.
COT International will attend Fruit Logistica to present its variety catalogue and receive its clients from all over the world.