Rijk Zwaan New DelhiDefence squash variety

A team of researchers and breeders from Rijk Zwaan in the Netherlands, Spain and Italy have succeeded in developing a number of new squash varieties. These are high yielding, with particularly good fruit quality and offer resistance to the New Delhi virus.

The New Delhi virus (ToLCNDV) has been causing serious problems for squash growers in the Mediterranean region for close to a decade.

The plant virus can attack the foliage and the fruits in any stage of cultivation. This results in smaller, misshapen fruits and, ultimately, a lower yield.

“There is huge market demand for such products,' said María Lourdes Pérez Aguilera, squash breeder at Rijk Zwaan in Spain. 'Even though Rijk Zwaan is still a relatively small player in squash, we wanted to offer a solution for growers who are affected by this virus.”

Rijk Zwaan said it was working hard to ensure that varieties with resistance are available for as many growers as possible.

The first batches of seeds have already been supplied to a group of selected growers for use in the upcoming season.

In parallel with the production process, the Rijk Zwaan team is continuing its breeding work to extend this resistance to the company’s other open field and protected cultivation squash varieties.

The group is marketing varieties that have innovative resistances under the Defense label. The squash varieties with New Delhi resistance fall into this category and will be sold under the DelhiDefense label.