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Chile promotes its own varieties of cherries

A Rainier-type selection stands out, which could strengthen the early cherry production zones in Chile and would expand the export offer of this category in China.

12/18/2020

Chilean cherry variety.

The Cherry Genetic Improvement Program of INIA-Biofrutales from Chile showed agricultural authorities and the O'Higgins Region, as well as union leaders, the promising progress of their work, which projects that in the coming years they will be able to count on cherries developed entirely in Chile.

Among the achievements, a Rainier-type selection stands out that could strengthen the early cherry production zones in Chile and that would expand the export offer of this category in China.

A work started in 2010 by INIA Rayentué in O'Higgins and the Biofrutales Consortium (to which Fedefruta belongs) with the support of Corfo, currently has 16 advanced cherry selections with the potential to transform, within a few more years of testing, in the first cherry varieties 100% developed in Chile.

Thus, the work of the INIA-Biofrutales Cherry Genetic Improvement Program was presented to the Minister of Agriculture Antonio Walker, and to the regional authorities of Corfo, Agriculture and the Economy, with very promising results, especially for Selection 21, a bicolor variety, Rainier typology but firmer, with good postharvest and less cold requirement, which would allow its production in areas as far north as Valparaíso and even Coquimbo, and with the opportunity to open and strengthen the offer of this varietal group in the Chinese market .

"INIA, together with Biofrutales, is working on this cherry tree genetic improvement project, we are more than halfway to obtaining a new variety. And we hope that in the next five years we will have a first Chilean variety of cherries", Gamalier Lemus, INIA Rayentué fruit specialist and director of the Cherry Genetic Improvement Program, took over. "We are very optimistic about the selections, we already have 16 that allow us to eventually apply to achieve at least some variety."

For his part, Rodrigo Cruzat, manager of Biofrutales, a biotechnological consortium of which Fedefruta is part, delved into the importance of continuing with this work, given that only six varieties currently represent almost 90% of the Chilean exportable supply of cherries, " and with the level of development that the fruit industry in general has today, and of the cherry in particular, it is not possible that we are waiting for a genetics or a technology developed in another country to adapt to our conditions, "he said. "We have to take charge of our challenges and among those is genetics, and that is why this associative relationship arises that is absolutely necessary, with a conviction to work for the future of the fruit industry."

Regarding the selection 21 of cherry, Cruzat also pointed out that for this variety "we need two or three more years for it to reach the market, since we must complete the minimum handling package to make the transfer to the producer."

In this sense, the president of Fedefruta, Jorge Valenzuela, highlighted the importance of having a Chilean variety of cherry that opens up new productive zones and early shipping windows to China with a sustainable offer. "This potential variety can give the possibility of planting this species in regions further north than the traditional ones in the center, starting earlier with the export of cherries, and extending the harvest periods, decompressing the 8 or 10 weeks in which the central zone the harvest fort is upside down working, "explained the union leader.

Collaboration

During the visit to learn about the progress of this Genetic Improvement Program were the Minister of Agriculture Antonio Walker, the Seremi of Agriculture and Economy in the O'Higgins Region, Joaquín Arriagada and Félix Ortiz, the regional director of Corfo Emiliano Orueta, the INIA director Rayentué Sofía Felmer, and Rengo mayor Julio Ibarra, as well as Fedefruta director and cherry producer Felipe Rieutord, and union manager Juan Carlos Sepúlveda.

Minister Walker not only highlighted that the cherry tree already has about 50 thousand hectares planted in Chile, that this season about 330 thousand tons will be exported, or that it is a species that is generating an enormous amount of employment, but also, put the relevance in the efforts of the public and private sectors to advance in this type of programs. "When we join with Corfo, when we join with the private sector, when we join with a service as important as INIA for research, the results that we are seeing here are achieved," said the head of agriculture. “I want to congratulate Biofrutales for this tremendous work that it is doing, since we are seeing Chilean varieties, with crosses that have been done in Chile, with research that has been done in Chile under the weather conditions of our country, which will be a tremendous contribution to the national fruit industry ".

Emiliano Orueta, director of Corfo at O'Higgins, commented for his part that "we have always been promoting industries in Chile, and it is not less than the fruit industry is also within a fruit consortium program, where INIA with Biofrutales are developing these new varieties in cherry trees, along with other works. For us, seeing results of potential final varieties of cherries that meet market expectations is key. It is a pride and we congratulate all the team of researchers that is promoting this for one day have our own varieties put into the world. "

INIA's work with Biofrutales has already yielded tangible results for the development, propagation, production and commercialization of Chilean fruit varieties, with the notable case of the Maylén grape, which is exported to markets such as China, the United Kingdom, North America and the Middle East. East. "Breeding work is long-term and no one can solve these challenges alone. We have the people and the capabilities, and we need to have the conviction, the time and the resources, so that the vicissitudes of all seasons do not stop us in this work, "concluded Cruzat.


 
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