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1 year ago

ThePartnership no. 14

  • Text
  • Vegetable
  • Breeding
  • Growers
  • Pepper
  • Products
  • Zaden
  • Cultivation
  • Enza
  • Partnership
  • Organic

Diversification of

Diversification of portfolio Growers in the emerging regions often first use varieties that were developed for cultivation in Southern or Western Europe. “However, the climate conditions, cultivation systems or market wishes may differ from those in Europe. Now that the cultivation in such areas is expanding, we can also cross and select specifically for these regions. Our portfolio is expanding steadily." Whereas Gialte is the leading yellow variety in the Netherlands, the Canadian and Mexican growers prefer the slightly larger Eurix. The Maranello has been the leading sweet pepper in the red segment in Western Europe for eight years, but in Mexico they prefer Ocelot and Triple 5. Finally, in the orange segment, the Orbit is a variety that performs very well in both Canada and Mexico. Resistances Regardless of whether they are in existing or emerging markets, resistances against diseases and pests receive a lot of attention from the growers. “The geographic expansion of the cultivation is inextricably linked to an expansion in disease and pests patterns. This situation is amplified by the global pressure on chemical pest control. Therefore, crops need to develop a natural resistance to diseases and pests. Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus and mildew are currently receiving the most attention. In addition, we are focusing on mechanisms that allow plants to defend themselves more effectively against insects. This is quite a challenge. However, we should not try to avoid this challenge, as insects play a key role in the transmission of viruses.” The multi-coloured Enjoya pepper definitely gets the conversation started at the dinner table Opportunity for differentiation In the wake of the developments in tomato cultivation, the sweet pepper growers are also looking at opportunities to distinguish themselves from the masses with distinctive products. These products do exist, although they are more limited than in the case of the tomato. “The mini-conicals have now established their position in the market. These snack peppers fit perfectly in the trend towards healthier snacks between meals. Our Tribellii® concept, which includes several colours, has been successfully introduced in Spain. This process is also going surprisingly well in Mexico. They grow this concept primarily for customers in Canada and the USA.” The demand for long conicals is also increasing. In addition to their distinctive shape, they also usually have a thinner fruit wall and a more intense, sweeter flavour than the standard sweet pepper. However, the production per square meter is a lot lower for both segments. With the introduction of the multi-coloured Enjoya several years ago, Enza Zaden proved that it is also possible to distinguish yourself within the blocky segment. The striking, red and yellow flamed fruit is a joy to behold and will definitely get the conversation started at the dinner table. “Such a beautiful product deserves exclusivity. It is currently only being cultivated by two companies: one in the Netherlands and one in North America, where the variety is sold under the name Aloha.” Seedless is gaining popularity Breeders focus on the wishes of both growers and consumers. Seedless varieties respond to the demand for products that are easy to consume. The highest priority here goes to the snack segment. “You need to be able to eat a snack sweet pepper at any time and any place without any fuss. The placenta covered with seeds undermine this.” A second market segment where this development would be very useful is the pre-cut and pre-packaged salads and vegetable mixes. Seedless fruits can be processed more quickly and easily and rule out any risk of finding seeds in the final product. “Such a beautiful product deserves exclusivity” Wouter Lindeman Rootstocks Another development that has received serious attention in recent decades is the breeding and selection of rootstocks. According to Lindeman, the results of these efforts are slowly but surely becoming visible. “Rootstocks and grafted plants have been commonplace for years in tomato cultivation. In that crop, the grafted cultivation variety is able to convert the vigour of the rootstock into a higher production. This is more tricky in the case of sweet pepper. Ten years ago we developed a new programme that has shifted boundaries. The turning point has almost been reached. By this I mean that we have developed a number of specific, promising combinations of rootstock and cultivation variety that allow for a significant increase in yield. I expect that a number of innovative growing companies will be interested in gaining experience with these combinations over the coming years. This is also necessary, because both the propagation and cultivation of grafted plants is a finely tuned process. In sweet pepper cultivation, it is all about achieving the correct crop balance.” Sweet pepper cultivation is getting ready for grafted plants Working with a specialised plant propagator, grower Richard van den Berg from Berg Peppers in the Netherlands has been closely involved for seven years in the development programme run by Enza Zaden for rootstocks and grafted sweet pepper plants. Right combination “I wanted to participate, even though I realised that there was no guarantee of success,” explains the renowned grower. “If you can find the right combination, then – in my opinion – grafted plants offer more guarantees for long-term crop vitality, less plant loss and increased fruit weight.” In order to monitor the screening programme closely, the grower allowed us to use a few thousand square metres of glasshouse. We performed the same tests there each year as we do in Enkhuizen, so that the results can be compared. Van den Berg is not afraid to implement large scale tests of combinations that appeared to be promising the previous year. A few years ago he even grew 20 ha of grafted plants of various varieties. “We now have 5.5 ha of grafted Gialte. That is not due to declining confidence, but due to changes in our product range.” Crafting sweet pepper seedlings on rootstock Grower Richard van den Berg from Berg Peppers, the Netherlands Tipping point The grower thinks that it is too soon to make a structural shift towards grafted plants, although he has seen progress in the programme. “Enza Zaden performs thorough research and provides feedback about the results. That is why I want to remain involved in this development. We are approaching the point that is required to justify the higher costs of grafted plants. These costs are significant and you really need to produce more kilograms to justify the investment. I may need to look more specifically at the boundaries of cultivation, but I definitely will not take any major risks. Overall, this is a great learning process, which I can benefit from as soon as grafted plants really take off. You can bet that I will be ready to lead the way.” 6 | The Partnership The Partnership | 7

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