One of Spain’s leading nurseries has set up trial programmes in India with a view to becoming a leading presence in the soft fruit sector.
Viveros California, which exports to several countries in Africa, Europe and Asia, first started exporting strawberry plants to India around 20 years ago. However, the successful varieties from Europe did not perform well in the climatic conditions in Maharashtra, where 90 per cent of India’s strawberries are cultivated.
In the last few years the company has developed new varieties and has gained experience in different countries and continents.
With the help of collaborator Jasmeet Sahni, the company resumed its operations in India in 2015, testing new varieties in Maharashtra.
“We have tried around 10 to 15 new varieties in the last two years which we think can do well in this part of the world and the results are quite positive,” said Sahni, who is of Indian origin but based in Spain.
“For example Amiga, our own variety, has had impressive results in the past year. This year we are trying more variations and we are extremely optimistic. ”
Santosh Bavelekar, a producer from the south of India, has been purchasing plants for cultivation from Viveros California and also helping to breed the new day neutral and ever bearing varieties. He has just returned from visiting the Viveros California’s strawberry farms in the south of Spain.
“I am impressed by the efforts and resources they spend on the research and development. We are still doing open air farming in India. We still have a long way to go,” he said.
Antonio Arjona, one of Viveros California’s directors, said the company is also looking to develop raspberries and other berries in India.
“I am convinced that in the years to come we will be the reference of berry farming in India,” he said.