Global Plant Genetics (GPG) has extended its raspberry representation contract with James Hutton, allowing the company to exclusively offer three new raspberry varieties to growers based in Morocco and Tunisia.
These include the two primocane varieties, Skye and Lewis, as well as the low-chill floricane type Glen Mor.
Jamie Petchell, co-owner of the company, said: ”We are looking forward to moving these genetics into North Africa. Both Morocco and Tunisia have excellent environments for the production of raspberries generally and these varieties have great potential to thrive there.
“The crop is now well-established in both locations, but there is further room for expansion through the use of improved varieties. The raspberry category, like others within berries overall, continues to expand and we are delighted to offer these three improved varieties.”
According to GPG, each of the three cultivars offers different advantages both to growers and to marketers of berries.
Skye is a genuine double-cropping raspberry with superb fruit quality characteristics that are maintained in both the spring and autumn harvest seasons. Trials to date have shown that it outperforms currently industry-leading types in terms of yield with similar fruit size and better flavour characteristics.
Lewis is the second primocane cultivar and performs differently to Skye in that it has an earlier autumn harvest, providing a long picking season and extremely high yields. Growers can also choose to double crop the variety, but its best performance is as a single harvest type.
The low-chill nature of the floricane Glen Mor mean that it can bear a small amount of fruit late in the autumn season, but its principal commercial use will be as a very early spring cropping type.
Glen Mor also contains the genetic marker to Phytophthora root rot resistance. This makes it a versatile cultivar in soil grown as well as substrate culture.
The raspberry-breeding programme at James Hutton is known globally and has been running for many decades.
Dr Nikki Jennings, raspberry breeder for the programme and Jamie Smith, business manager for agri tech said they were optimistic about the potential of the three new varieties in Morocco and Tunisia.
“All three varieties follow the trend towards larger, sweeter berries that better meet the demands of both growers and consumers. We hope that growers will especially appreciate the improved picking efficiency of the primocanes (Lewis and Skye) with the combination of productivity and large fruit size,” they said.
“We are also particularly excited by the release of the floricane (Glen Mor) as the first variety with the presence of a functional root rot resistance marker, thus combining a known Phytophthora resistance with superior fruit quality in a single cultivar.”
In addition to the new opportunity for raspberry growers in Morocco and Tunisia, GPG is also licensing these varieties in a range of other territories across the world, including South and North America, Australia, Southern Africa.