1 year ago

The Partnership no. 18

Horticultural varieties,

Horticultural varieties, value chain and innovation Melon House Fair Spain importance of the very early or late melon varieties in countries exporting out of season in order to extend production schedules. Adapting to the needs Three points where plant breeding and varietal improvement plays a decisive role could be identified: agronomic characteristics, postharvest aspects and those affecting the consumer. Those involved – both producers and marketers of seed and fruit – agree with each other in highlighting the significant points showing that the varieties developed by Enza Zaden are adapting to the needs of growers and consumers. Vicente Marín, representing FRUCA Marketing, a Murcian horticultural production and marketing company, refers to the three points mentioned above. He highlights the introduction of significant phytosanitary resistance in the new varieties. This feature affects production and opens up the possibility of successfully using these varieties in organic farming. It also extends the post-harvest shelf life, which is valuable domestically and indispensable for export. Another improvement is the sweetness and enjoyable texture of the fruit, sought by consumers. David Molina pointed out that the Galia variety Abisal, for example, combines characteristics that make it versatile in relation to different ecological conditions – it is a strong, disease-resistant plant with a long post-harvest shelf life, advantageous for export, and produces high quality fruit, reflected by consumption. Targeting the entire value chain Beatriz López Reyes and Giuseppina Inturrisi, experts in Marketing Intelligence and Client Marketing, respectively, from Enza Zaden Spain, explained how the company's commercial policy meets the needs of its customers. This policy targets the entire value chain, although it does concentrate on the wishes of the end consumer. The minimum requirements of product quality are indisputable: if a variety does not meet them, it is automatically excluded from the programme. Postharvest and agronomic characteristics are added to those of consumer preference and convenience. Partnership The melon market is in a state of constant flux, in terms of both technical production and consumer demand. It has responded to these changes by adapting varieties and concentrating on genetic improvements. This is how Enza Zaden is making its contribution to the economic system of melon production and cultivation. Genci Armero Roca, Sales Manager Iberia and Bernardo Santiago, Crop Specialist Melon. 16 | The Partnership In order to endow the plant with the characteristics or ‘drivers’ that determine its success on the market, fluid communications are essential for the parties involved in the value chain. Events such as the ‘Melon House Fair’, recently held in the Enza Zaden trial field in Murcia, Spain, ensure effective communication. The melon market European melon production – excluding watermelon – is dominated by Spain, Italy and France, with Spain being the main exporter in Europe. The chief destinations are Germany, France and the United Kingdom. This was clearly explained by Dr. Hans-Christoph Behr, director of the German agricultural market research firm AMI (Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft GmbH), in the webinar he presented at the Melon House Fair. He stated that the new melon consumers in Northern Europe are part of young population groups, living in small, even oneperson, households. This has led to the development of round, lightweight melon varieties – approximately one kilogram in weight – suitable for fast consumption. Deseasonalisation Melon demand is seasonal: it is a refreshing fruit, mainly enjoyed in summer. But a trend for deseasonalisation could be detected, extending consumption for weeks outside the usual season. Mr. David Molina (Ahern Seeds, Honduras) discussed the Digital communication: here to stay This review cannot be concluded without making special mention of the digital communication format introduced at the event. This format was structured in such a way that it maximised interactions under the conditions imposed by the current pandemic. Giuseppina Inturrisi pointed out that during the meeting, 160 digital contacts were made – including with participants located abroad – and 90 face-to-face contacts. The virtual procedure was introduced in response to the difficulties with personal interaction caused by the pandemic. But “the result has been amazing as our customers’ reaction has been very positive.” David Molina described his virtual experience: “45-minute meetings were organized in a virtual room with customers, and the company presenter arranged a ‘tour’ to show the varieties on display. This meeting was linked to a presentation in the field, where the cultivars planted were talked about. The trial material was the topic of discussion in both the room and the field. Brilliant! Although the face-to-face option is irreplaceable, Enza Zaden’s pioneering presentations are here to stay, and we hope that they will be developed in the future to directly provide the end customer with product demonstrations.” In short, the communication effort made by Enza Zaden throughout the entire value chain is clearly appreciated by the parties in this chain, offering major advantages to all of them. The Partnership | 17

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