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Nursery plantings for 2024-2025 crop year have begun:

"We are in the process of obtaining EU-wide planting patents for two new strawberry varieties"

Nova Siri Genetics' (NSG) breeding program focuses on the selection of strawberry and small fruit varieties suitable for Mediterranean climates. We spoke to Carmela Suriano, the breeding company's EMEA director, who explained how the company's research and testing activities are progressing and what's new for 2024. "Our main focus is on hardy varieties, varieties that are more resistant to climate change, more tolerant to pests and pathogens, and more adaptable to poor soils. We are also on the lookout for varieties that can guarantee good yields for growers and fruit that are appreciated by consumers.

Carmela Suriano

"Our main strawberry varieties," Suriano continues, "including NSG 203 - Marimbella®, NSG 465 - Rossetta®, NSG 207 - Gioelita® and Melissa, are now widely planted in the main producing areas of southern Italy (Basilicata, Campania and Sicily), as well as in the Spanish province of Huelva, a strategic region for the sector in the Mediterranean. However, there is also a growing interest in our breeding program from growers in other areas where our varieties are spreading. These include Greece, Albania, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, India, Australia, South Africa and Brazil."

Companies authorized to propagate NSG varieties have already started planting nurseries for the 2024-2025 campaign in Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, and Germany. The climatic conditions in these countries are ideal for producing plants for Mediterranean strawberry growers. The number of nurseries dedicated to the NSG 203 - Marimbella® and NSG 465 - Rossetta® varieties, which are highly valued by growers for their rusticity, earliness, and productivity, is increasing.

About 4,000 strawberry selections and another 1,000 raspberry and blackberry selections are currently being tested at NSG's research center in the Basilicata region.

Fields of NSG 465 - Rossetta®

What's new for NSG in 2024
"We are in the process of obtaining EU-wide patents (CPVO) for two new strawberry varieties with good tolerance to major diseases and interesting organoleptic characteristics. In addition, this year we have added new raspberry and blackberry trial plots at our research and testing center in Policoro (Matera). These will be open to the public during the 3rd Open Day on 21 March. We have already identified some very interesting selections. Indeed, we expect to be ready to apply for PBRs for the first NSG raspberry variety later this year. Once again, we are looking for varieties that are intended for producers in areas with a Mediterranean climate, that are early, productive, have a long shelf-life, and a perfect balance of acidity and sugar, which gives the fruit a pleasant flavor."

Experimental raspberry field

The market now demands strawberries and small fruits all year round, with growth particularly strong in the winter months. This seasonal demand is a strategic factor for Mediterranean growers in order to serve central and northern European markets as early as the start of the harvest. "At Nova Siri Genetics, we are always looking for innovative varieties that can meet current needs and anticipate the changes that will affect the supply chain. One element that is becoming increasingly important in our breeding program is earliness. NSG's strawberry varieties have satisfactory production volumes and prices already from the early part of the year. Our aim is also for varieties with high fruit quality in terms of bright and uniform red coloration throughout the production period. Another key element is the long shelf life of the fruit. This means that the attractiveness of the fruit, its flavor, and texture remain unaltered even a few days after harvest."

The third NSG Open Day is scheduled for Thursday, March 21, 2024. It is an opportunity to visit the Research and Experimental Center, which consists of a research laboratory, a storage and growing greenhouse, and experimental fields. The doors of the center will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entry is open to all who register at [email protected].

For more information:
Nova Siri Genetics Srl
Via San Maurizio, 46
75025 Policoro (MT)
E-mail: [email protected]

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