The Hot Climate Programme, an industry leading breeding programme, is capturing the attention of fresh produce companies globally, as the demand for climate resistant fruit increases.
Initiated in 2002, the Hot Climate Programme is a global collaboration between partners, VentureFruit, Plant & Food Research, the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA) and Fruit Futur.
Gary Wellwood, VentureFruit Global Variety Development Manager, says the apple and pear sector is facing multiple challenges due to climatic and environmental influences, yet this breeding programme offers a solution.
“We identified very early on the need to support growers through these challenges, and to ensure that consumers can continue to enjoy crisp, tasty apples and pears well into the future. The programme is now in its advanced stage, with a strong pipeline and identified superior selections on offer.”
The recent annual Hot Climate Programme Field Days hosted in Spain, evaluated 17 new apple and pear varieties that have shown superior hot climate performance and resilience in comparison to traditional varieties, while producing high quality fruit that meets production, supply and market requirements.
Eva Ogué, Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), says: “The evaluation sessions gave the breeding team the opportunity to have fruitful and enriching discussions with professionals from across the industry. With representatives from eight countries and more than 20 fresh produce companies, it provided valuable insights and opinions which will contribute to the Hot Climate Programme’s alignment to market expectations and trends.”
All fruit is evaluated for taste, flavour, texture and appearance and benchmarked against commercial varieties. This data is then combined with consumer insights to present a clear competitive market position for each variety. Testing partners actively participate in evaluating the fruit and feedback to the programme on varietal parameters and future development.
VentureFruit, T&G Global’s newly established genetics and variety management business, is leading the programme’s commercialisation and recognises the importance of the Field Days for the development of the programme and the industry as a whole.
“We are very aware of the changing environment we’re growing in and are committed to responding to climate change impacts, grower concerns and future market demands. These varieties are expected to not only benefit growers in traditional regions where temperatures are rising, but we can potentially extend into new regions previously not suitable for apple and pear growing, and therefore build sustainability, resilience and performance into the category overall,” says Gary Wellwood.
Hot climate tolerant varieties are increasingly in demand worldwide. VentureFruit is looking to develop its global network of testing partners who, by way of an annual program fee, will have access to all varieties for growing and evaluation within their respective territories. VentureFruit is specifically canvassing for partners in North and South America, if you would like to learn more, please get in touch.