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Carl Collen

BY CARL COLLEN

Tuesday 23rd February 2021, 09:59 London

Improving the berry offering

Polandís in-vitro Kusibab Group continues to grow its product range and develop better varieties, according to Marcin Wyka and Tadeusz Kusibab

Improving the berry offering

Tadeusz Kusibab

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Plant micropropagation and berry nursery specialist in-vitro Kusibab never seems to stand still. The Polish company is always striving to introduce new species, test new varieties and extend its reach into new markets, and this year will see more of the same.

“In 2021 we are expanding our product range with currants, gooseberries, beekeeping plants, new varieties of blueberries, haskap berries and blackberries,” confirms chief executive Tadeusz Kusibab. “We have promising results from our technological trials for the reproduction of sea buckthorn.”

What’s new in blueberries

The group started selling two new blueberry varieties in 2020, namely Titanium and MegasBlue. There has been a growing interest in these two varieties from both the domestic and overseas markets.

“It will take some time to establish their usefulness,” executive Marcin Wyka outlines. “We must confirm their resistance to our climatic conditions, but their potential can certainly give hope that they will become one of the leading blueberry varieties.”

The company already has other blueberry varieties in production, but these will not be released until 2022.

In-vitro Kusibab is enjoying heightened interest in its products from a number of international markets, ranging from close to home – the likes of Serbia, Croatia, Georgia, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia – all the way to Asia.

“Due to the relocation of blueberry growing regions, especially towards countries with warmer climates or those nations where blueberry demand is growing, interest in low-chill or no-chill varieties has increased,” explains Kusibab.

Wyka also highlights how much the climate and weather matters to the group’s customers: “The weather has been less predictable in recent years, with spring causing a lot of difficulties. This year, for the first time in several years, we have a beautiful winter. This should calm moods and verify plans.”

Opportunities and challenges

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the group will continue to search for varieties from individual species to meet the expectations of its customers.

“We are also working on expanding the selection of types, species and varieties that were once in our production range and had been removed – among others, currants and gooseberries – while we expand our offer with mulberries, strawberries, goji berries and rhubarb,” Wyka confirms.

The group is also continuing to develop Haskap as a viable commercial berry, although Kusibab says the road to customer awareness remains a long one.

There is also the issue of Brexit, which has made for a tricky start to 2021. “This year has brought a new challenge in the form of Brexit,” Wyka adds. “Currently, the export of our goods is difficult. However, we hope we can solve this problem quickly.”

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