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Pieter Zietsman - TopFruit

TopFruit and Planasa accelerate the growth of blueberries in South Africa and beyond

TopFruit South Africa has announced a partnership with Planasa, one of the largest blueberry nurseries in the world, to grow and evaluate varieties emanating from Planasa’s new blueberry breeding programme across sites in Southern Africa.

“Planasa blueberry varieties are ideally suited for Southern African climate regions and some of the very low chill evergreen types will be suitable for tropical regions such as Zambia and Kenya,” says Pieter Zietsman, TopFruit blueberry specialist. He adds that these varieties are already widely planted in the south of Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Peru and Mexico with very good production of quality fruit.

Planasa's BlueMarina cultivar (photos supplied by TopFruit)

Very low-chill blueberry varieties
Planasa varieties have already been licensed for commercial planting in Zimbabwe where about 50ha have been planted during the past two years.

In the Aussenkehr Valley of southern Namibia, better known for its table grapes, the first fruit from the Planasa trial varieties established on Silverlands Farm are being harvested at present.

“These blueberry varieties will be planted in 14 different trial sites in South Africa in September this year to test and evaluate the potential in different climate zones,” Pieter explains. “All of the Planasa varieties have proven that they produce high volumes of quality fruit with very good storage and shelf-life abilities. These varieties are expected to start cropping from July in the early regions until the end of November in later regions, depending on the region.”

Planasa is an international group of companies leading the development of new berry varieties to meet growers and consumers’ needs within different markets, TopFruit notes. Planasa mainly breeds strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, as well as asparagus, garlic, and avocados.

“As part of their strategy to be on top of the world’s new blueberry genetics, a range of new generation of blueberry varieties were developed by Planasa at their nursery in Huelva, Spain, and launched in 2019. BlueManila, BlueMalibu, BlueMarina, BlueMadeira, BlueMaldiva and BlueMasirah are mostly very low-chill, evergreen varieties.”

BlueMalibu, a new Planasa variety launched in 2019

Planasa partnership: a natural progression
TopFruit has been introducing new fruit varieties into Southern Africa from breeders all over the world since 1983. The company’s focus is to discover and unlock the potential of these varieties for Southern African producers, achieved through variety development, a strong programme of intellectual property management, brand development, and innovative marketing initiatives, the company notes.

“The licensing of Planasa blueberry varieties is a natural progression of the expansion of our offering of berry varieties to Southern African growers,” he adds, pointing out that TopFruit has a unique licensing model in terms of growing berries: all growers are allowed to plant and market their licensed varieties through a number of reputable marketing companies and or embark on private marketing, depending on the variety.

Growers are welcome to contact Pieter Zietsman for more details on Planasa blueberries as well as on TopFruit's blueberry and blackberry varieties.

For more information:

Pieter Zietsman
Tel: +27 21 874 1033
+27 82 341 4909

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