The province of Malaga has special climatic conditions that allow it to be one of the few European regions where tropical fruits can be produced. In fact, it has already become a leading producer of avocados and mangoes in Europe, but these are not the only tropical fruits that can be harvested in the fields of Malaga; others are also being cultivated, namely carambola, pitahaya, passion fruit, lychee, longan, pawpaw or lucuma.
Now the Institute of Subtropical and Mediterranean Horticulture (IHSM) La Mayora is testing the adaptation of soursop (Annona muricata); another tropical fruit that has raised the interest of some consumers due to its alleged health benefits.
This fruit, with an appearance similar to that of cherimoyas and native to the tropical regions of the Americas and the Caribbean, can weigh between 2.5 and 4 kilos and the tree that produces it can reach a height of up to 10 meters. The ones sold in Spain are imported and their price can exceed 40 Euro per kilo.
This year, La Mayora has obtained the first soursop produced in its experimental farm in Algarrobo, although it is still too early to assess the crop's adaptability to the area.
The varieties tested by the IHSM are being grown in heated glass and plastic greenhouses.
It will still take several more years to analyze the organoleptic characteristics of the different varieties of the fruits, assessing also their productivity and determining the ideal cultivation conditions and techniques.
In any case, the head of the Department of Subtropical Fruit Cultivation of the IHSM La Mayora, researcher Iñaki Hormaza, said that the first conclusions are promising. "The materials we have are from seeds of different origins and what we are doing is optimizing the production, which entails crop management and manual pollination," said Hormaza.
In Spain, several scientific groups and universities are currently conducting studies to learn about the health properties attributed to it.