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‘Thanks to the new resistant melon varieties, clients can count on quality fruits’

Resistances to diseases such as leaf minor and brown spots help melon growers move forward. “Thanks to Rijk Zwaan’s new resistant varieties, we can guarantee clients cleaner fruits, using less chemicals. Our European chain partners can also count on quality fruits with a long shelf life,” says Richard August Muller of the Brazilian company Agrícola Famosa.

Rijk Zwaan is presenting these resistant melons at Fruit Logistica in Berlin, in line with the company’s theme of ‘Freshly Forward, from Foundation to Future’.

Can you tell us more about the award Agrícola Famosa won last year?
“We won the award ’Best of Brazil’s agribusiness based on both our financial results and our sustainability initiatives. Our 28-year-old company employs 8,000 people and achieved a record turnover of €175 million in 2022. Respect for the environment and our social commitment is reflected in our mission: ‘Grow, this is our nature’. Rijk Zwaan’s new melon varieties with more resistances contribute to that mission,” explains Richard August Muller, Production and Supply Chain Director.

How do Rijk Zwaan’s melon varieties help you move ‘freshly forward’?
“In different ways,” responds Muller. “We’ve been growing the Yellow Honey Dew (YHD) melon Natal RZ for a long time already. With this variety, we serve the domestic market and the processing market. The new yellow variety lines, which we developed with Rijk Zwaan, help us to get high yields, combined with smaller sizes for export and less problems with brown spots. We are also very happy with Caribbean Gold RZ, a Harper type with a long shelf life. And we are now testing leaf-miner-resistant Harper varieties. These are very strategically important for us because we are keen to reduce the use of chemicals to control leaf miner.” Weber Carlos Pinheiro, Crop Specialist Melon at Rijk Zwaan Brasil, adds: “Natural resistance not only supports a reduction in chemicals, but also helps plants to grow in an optimal way. And good, strong plants will produce good-quality, strong fruits.”

Do those varieties contribute to the ‘fresh foundation’ of your company?
“For sure. Resistant melon varieties really help us to guarantee our clients cleaner fruits using less chemicals. Our European chain partners can also count on high-quality fruits with a long shelf life. As we are the largest melon exporter in the world, this is very important for us,” Muller states. “We greatly appreciate our more than 15-year relationship with Rijk Zwaan because we were – and are – together through good times and bad. Rijk Zwaan believes in us, and Agrícola Famosa has just as much confidence in Rijk Zwaan and its people,” he continues.

What are your expectations about the ‘fresh future’ in challenging times?
“We foresee two more years of recession before the fresh fruit prices return to a normal level again. We expect 30% less consumption for melons,” says Muller. Rijk Zwaan Crop Specialist Carlos Pinheiro concludes: “It is Rijk Zwaan’s mission to bring solutions for this challenging time, offering cost savings and added-value varieties. Reliability, harvest security and stable quality are also crucial. That’s how we secure a ‘fresh foundation’ for our clients.”

Visit Rijk Zwaan in Berlin in Hall 1.2, D-13.

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