Now that the strawberry season in the Mediterranean Arc has ended, El Pinar is taking stock of the agronomic performance of its main varieties in Spain, Morocco, Greece, Malta, and Italy. In a year with highly variable weather conditions, which has marked the performance of all of them, and that confirms the success of the Plant Sciences and Berry Genetics varietal programs.
This success is based on a robust R&D project at El Pinar, which for over 17 years has been managed with a clear objective in mind: to adapt to local conditions, not only agronomically but also in terms of the commercial needs of growers in each growing area.
El Pinar currently has an Experimental Farm located in Lucena del Puerto, Huelva (Spain), where they carry out the selection and varietal development, mainly for the strawberry programs of Plant Sciences and Berry Genetics; an Experimentation Center in Portugal, for the varietal development of raspberries and blueberries; and an Experimentation Center in Segovia, where they work on the research line of summer strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry.
Primavera and Victory confirm their rusticity
Both Primavera and Victory demonstrated their excellent hardiness during their planting, with no incidents despite the abnormally warm temperatures during October. In the case of Primavera in Spain, the first harvests began in mid-December, while Victory did so in the first fortnight of January.
"Both have responded really well in terms of their winter performance, with excellent quality and fruit color," explains Jorge Muñoz, Sales manager of El Pinar.
As a semi-early variety, Victory has shown its linear productivity, quality, and shelf life, which has guaranteed that harvests have been extended until June, despite the high temperatures that have been recorded. "Another advantage that the growers have been able to confirm is that Victory's firmness allows them to better manage their farms when the labor is scarce, and they are forced to delay harvesting," adds Jorge Muñoz.
In the case of Morocco, Victory is an ideal variety that allows them to differentiate themselves in export markets with great success thanks to the shelf life. In turn, the local consumption of strawberries is very important, as is the frozen industry, where Victory is the preferred variety for both activities and where the producer obtains the highest profitability.
Italy, a country where domestic sales are the main focus, has seen a varietal change among the main growers, especially with Inspire.
Mario Esteban, CEO of El Pinar, points to a strong growth for Victory in Spain, Morocco, and Italy, while in Greece, it will continue to maintain its leadership, with more than 85% market share.
Inspire, managed in Spain under the club system, will also record a significant increase in cultivation area, as will other countries in the Mediterranean Arc, specifically in Greece and Italy. "In Italy, this year, Inspire will prevail in the quality fruit segment, displacing other varieties. And the fact is that Inspire's rusticity and shelf life are added values, which is why Italian producers and marketers are backing this variety," says Mario Esteban.
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