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1 year ago

ThePartnership no. 16

  • Text
  • Tomato
  • Vitalis
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Organic
  • Breeding
  • Varieties
  • Partnership
  • Zaden
  • Enza

the more vigorous

the more vigorous varieties - especially for the early cultivation. Vigour and a high resilience under difficult conditions are very important characteristics for organic leafy crops. These properties have also become more important in regular cultivation, as fewer chemical resources are used nowadays. In this regard, the breeding programmes at Enza Zaden and Vitalis reinforce one another.” Pumpkin In 2010, Van Diemen moved to Voorst to expand the organic breeding programme. Pumpkin quickly became one of the main crops. “The organic cultivation is expanding steadily and pumpkin is a sturdy and rewarding crop in that segment, and it fits perfectly in the rotation schedules”, he continues. “It is also a crop that comes in a wide variety of shapes, colours and flavours. The majority of the pumpkins sold in European supermarkets today have been cultivated organically. We have been the market leader for some years now with ‘Orange Summer’, a red pumpkin that is very popular internationally due to the high yield, excellent quality and shelf life and its good flavour.” the resistance or tolerance will usually persist for a much longer period. Such a broad tolerance is extremely valuable in organic cultivation. In regular cultivation, the options to combat diseases by chemical intervention are gradually decreasing. Therefore, intermediary resistances are becoming increasingly important for this cultivation method too.” Restrictions According to Van Diemen, one other thing that is definitely worth mentioning are some of the restrictions that breeders need to take into consideration. “This applies primarily to Europe, where the requirements and principles of organic farming are more stringent than in - for example - North America. One of the requirements is that organic farming in Europe always has to take place in full soil, whereas this is not a strict rule in North America. In addition, organic farmers and quality labels denounce certain breeding techniques, because - in their opinion - they are too far removed from natural pollination processes.” An example of this is cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS), a technique that is used on a broad scale in the regular breeding of brassicas. “Although this technique is not explicitly prohibited in organic farming, we know that growers in some countries have a strong preference for varieties created without the use of CMS”, he explains. “The brassica breeders at Enza Zaden take this into account. Brassica seeds that are sold under our label are guaranteed CMS-free and this is appreciated by the growers.” A year of change Vitalis Organic Seeds is growing steadily in turnover (double figures) and number of employees. In the summer season, the 35 permanent employees are joined by several dozen temporary workers. “In the past five or six years - in addition to strong growth in the Benelux countries, Spain, France and Germany - we have also achieved an enormous increase in turnover in North America”, explains Van Diemen. “This is not only due to the growing interest in organic vegetables, but also due to the fantastic efforts of our American standard bearer Erica Renaud. She has really put Vitalis on the map and is steadily expanding our network and market share in the organic fresh chain.” As a result of this steady expansion, the organisation in Voorst is now bursting at the seams. In order to facilitate further expansion and for reasons of efficiency, we have therefore decided to move a part of the logistics process (seed cleaning, sorting, packaging, storage and distribution) from Voorst to Enkhuizen. A separate building will become operational in 2020. Long before this date, we will celebrate the 25-year anniversary of Vitalis with the 'Vitalis 25 years' event and the open days in Voorst, which will be held from 24 through to 27 September this year. 1994-2019 Resistances and tolerances “We are mainly interested in polygenic, horizontal or intermediary resistances”, explains Van Diemen. “Resistances based on a single gene are generally overcome quite quickly by natural mutations within the pathogen. Known examples are Bremia in lettuce and Peronospora in spinach, which cause downy mildew. If you can make a crop less susceptible via several genes, then Erica Renaud, Region Manager North America, has really put Vitalis on the map. “In the past five or six years we have also achieved an enormous increase in turnover in North America” Marcel van Diemen 10 | Partnership Partnership | 11

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