The exponential growth of the avocado market, whose production is expanding as the world demand increases, has led to clonal propagation becoming one of the most effective techniques to maintain the characteristics and quality of the multiplied varieties, ensuring the homogeneity of the plantations thanks to genetic replication.
Given the growing need for avocado plants in this industry, BlueDrop Nursery has chosen Jalisco to set up the first nursery specialized in this type of plant propagation in Mexico. "Although Mexico is the leader in the avocado market, the level of sophistication that has been achieved when it comes to the genetic quality of the plants is still very low," says Rodrigo Compean, director of the project. "Today, in other parts of the world, such as the US or South Africa, it is almost standard to sow clonally propagated plants, while here, in Mexico, no nursery had used this technique before we started."
BlueDrop Nursery, located in the vicinity of the Tequila volcano and inaugurated a year ago, has an annual propagation capacity of 250,000 avocado plants and produces both clonal and conventional plants. "For the 2021 planting season, a third of the production is going to be clonal and the other two thirds will be conventional plants," says Compean. “Although there is demand for this type of plants in Central American countries, we have a huge market here in Mexico. Since we are the world's leading avocado producer, we're also global leaders in the avocado tree market. For this reason, our efforts right now are focused on implementing the concept of clonal trees in Mexico before we start thinking about other countries.”
For BlueDrop, genetics is one of the main factors for success in a plantation. "Our objective is to get the most complete and advanced catalog of varieties available on the market," says Rodrigo. Consequently, in addition to the Hass (the most popular variety in the market), the Mexican nursery offers producers a number of different certified varieties selected for their characteristics.
BlueDrop has the license for the propagation in Mexico of the South African Maluma® variety. "This is a very early variety with flexible branches that tend to resist heavier loads, which leads to greater tree productivity. Moreover, they have a smaller seed and the fruit quality is outstanding."
The nursery is also licensed to propagate Carmen®, a Hass-type variety commonly known as Méndez, whose rights are owned by the Californian Brokaw nursery. "After requesting the license and negotiating the royalty, Brokaw Nursery provided us with the plant material directly, so that we can assure our customers that the plant is legitimately Mendez," says Compean.
Another of the varieties now in the process of being registered with breeder's rights is the Flor de María, a very early Hass-type cultivar that offers good adaptability to hot climates. “This variety comes from a region of Michoacán that is warmer than the rest of the state. It is a tree that yields fruit in areas where the Hass would be stressed by the heat.”
A growing industry
The world's avocado production is currently increasing and is expected to continue doing so in the coming years; therefore, BlueDrop has chances to become a major player in this industry in which varietal choice is the key to competing in the most demanding international markets.
“In Mexico, the fruit's production is expanding. The acreage has increased to 230,000 hectares, with a growth rate of 7% per year in recent years. In fact, Mexico has grown as much in three years as the entire Peruvian industry. The country is also growing in terms of productivity, since the orchards are reaching higher yields per hectare,” says Compean. “Our goal is to play a big part in varietal renewal. In this regard, clonal propagation, our wide range of varieties and the genetic guarantees are our advantages, as well as our full commitment to quality.”