Range of high-quality peaches, nectarines and plums fill the early or late production window for optimum commercial value

The Murcian Institute for Agrarian and Environmental Research and Development (Imida), has developed a range of premium stonefruit varieties that are able to withstand the effects of climate change.

Imida B

The range includes Siroco flat peaches from Imida breeding programme, yellow-fleshed Bora nectarines, Levante and Alisio peaches and red-fleshed Lucía and Victoria plums. All of them are characterised by their early production, excellent quality and taste, good size, high yield and extended post-harvest shelf-life, Imida said. All the varieties have either an early or late production window, offering more attractive option to producers to reach the market when supply is lower.

The new cultivars are the latest to come from Imida’s genetic improvement programme, led by José Cos. Since its inception, the programme has evaluated more than 50,000 peach crosses, of which 21 varieties have been registered and are being grown commercially.

Presenting the varieties at an event for growers at the FrutImida trial farm in Hoya del Campo, Albarán, Imida said they will help growers diversify their portfolio and ensure that Spain continues to be an international reference in stonefruit production.

During the launch, Antonio Luengo, acting minister of water, agriculture, livestock and fisheries in the regional government of Murcia, commented: “Imida continues to promote and develop various genetic improvement programmes of different crops in order to obtain new varieties of interest to the productive sector, better adapted to the new current climatic conditions and which are being made available to farmers to optimise and diversify their production.

“The new varieties allow the farmer to extend their production window so that they can access the markets under advantageous conditions, that is, times when there is no production.”

Imida carries out its work in several different laboratories and trial farms, such as the one located in Yéchar where more than 300 varieties of peach trees from all over the world are planted for study and research.

Its work covers identifying and improving the genetic plant material, overseeing the growth of the trees and registering new varieties and marketing them through licensed nurseries and producers.

Luengo praised Imida’s efforts to find research and science-based solutions and transferring this knowledge to the grower, noting “it is a long process – in the case of stonefruit it takes more than 10 years of research and development to obtain a new variety”.

The genetic improvement programme forms part of Imida’s 2021-27 research and development programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the government of the Region of Murcia.