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Paula Crespo, EMEA Marketing & Communications Manager at Planasa:

"Spain is becoming a leading supplier of fresh and early blueberries across Europe"

Huelva's growers continue to invest in blueberry cultivation. In fact, this is the fruit with the greatest growth in the acreage this year, with more than 8% compared to the previous year. This expansion of the acreage does not necessarily have to be linked to an immediate increase in the production, at least for this campaign, since blueberries reach their maximum production potential up to 2 or 3 years after the planting. 

"For some time now, the sector had been demanding a varietal renewal, since blueberries provide very good yields," says Paula Crespo, EMEA Marketing & Communications Manager at Planasa. "Consequently, the cultivation area and consumption are growing constantly. The arrival of new varieties, such as those in our program, are facilitating this renewal and making it possible to meet the growers' goal of extending the campaign, starting earlier to produce high quality fruit with very good post-harvest qualities, in turn increasing the quality standard of the fruit that reaches the consumers throughout the campaign."

BlueManila (Plablue 1545) is one of the six commercial blueberry varieties currently in Planasa's catalog. "It is an extra-early variety, the earliest in our catalog, and one of those that is yielding the best results, not only in Huelva, but also in other continents with similar climates. In Huelva, in our trial field, we obtain the first productions in week 49," says Paula Crespo.

"In addition to its extra-earliness, BlueManila stands out for its ease of harvesting and size, characteristics that have a direct impact on the fruit's yield. For retailers, the key features of BlueManila are undoubtedly its appearance (with bloom and a small scar), its sweet taste and shelf-life, which can motivate recurrent purchases by end consumers," he says.

"Another prominent variety in the early range is the BlueMalibu (Plablue 15122), as well as the BlueMaldiva (Plablue 1542), a variety with jumbo caliber fruits and very high quality, and the BlueMadeira (Plablue 1502), which is characterized by its high productivity of early fruit. Thus, with Planasa's program, which features six varieties, a complete production cycle can be achieved."

According to Planasa's communications manager, Spain is becoming the leading supplier of fresh and early blueberries across Europe, while at the same time, the quality of the product offered is improving every year with the introduction of new varieties. "Also, with the arrival of extra-early varieties, Huelva can supply high quality fruit in weeks in which until now we only had access to fruit from other continents."

"We believe that with our program we are helping to open the way for the development of Spanish blueberry varieties. Until now, growers opted for free varieties or programs from other continents and adapted them to local production conditions, and from now on, some of them will be able to obtain varieties developed in Huelva, thereby improving, to a large extent, their chances of success. Moreover, our technical team is facilitating the adoption of the new varieties and assisting growers during the growing cycle," he says.

"All this puts Spain in a position where the international blueberry market can look to us and see us in the long term as potential producers, but in the short term as developers of new quality material."

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