The University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the Micro Plantas company have joined efforts to expand the cultivation of blackberries in the country, making the dwarf blackberry variety available to Costa Rican farmers.
"The main advantage of the selected dwarf blackberry is that it is a compact growth material, it's easy to harvest, and has better yields," stated Arturo Brenes, CIA researcher and developer of the protocol.
One year after starting the improvements in production, the Cooperative of Agricultural Producers and Multiple Services from Los Santos (Apacoop) and the Micro Plantas company - which obtained in 2019 the license to use the in vitro reproduction protocol Developed by the UCR's Center for Agricultural Research (CIA) - have planted 100,000 organic blackberry plants among selected farmers from Los Santos and from Perez Zeledon. "The producers are very excited, their productivity has increased by up to 75%, going from 2.5 tons to 10 tons," said Carlos Gamboa, the manager of Apacoop.
The cooperative signed an agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in 2018, which has allowed it to implement improvements in crops together with the Micro Plantas company and to adopt the protocol created by the CIA.
Lilliana Rojas, the innovation manager of the Knowledge Management and Transfer Unit for Innovation (Proinnova), stated that this protocol is being developed by the University so that high-quality material is available to producers, to face the current needs of national producers.
A fruit with great commercial potential
Blackberry is considered a superfood due to the number of nutritional benefits it has for people's health. This fruit contains high levels of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and antioxidants that prevent heart disease and cellular aging.
According to the Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer), blackberry is considered one of the agricultural products with the greatest commercial potential in Costa Rica, not only because it is a superfood, but also due to the public's growing awareness regarding health issues and the increase in demand from the beverages and beauty sector.
Furthermore, the School of Medicine at the University of Costa Rica recently verified that the consumption of blackberry juice is good for colorectal and liver cancer.