Italian breeding company looks to build on strong reputation in raspberries through new partnership venture that will grow sales of blueberries developed in Argentina

Italian berry breeding company G-Berries has extended its business to blueberries with the creation of a new entity called Naike Blueberry Club.

The venture aims to develop international markets for four organic, southern highbush varieties called Naike, Tafì, Twin and Blue Candy. Each one was developed in Argentina through a collaboration between producer-exporter EarlyCrop and the University of Buenos Aires.

Initially, the club will work with five companies to establish production in in Europe, Africa and Turkey, and at the same time explore commercial opportunities in emerging consumer markets including India and China.

“In the last couple of years we decided to make our high-quality portfolio of varieties broader, adding also blueberries,” explains Luca Molari, G-Berries managing partner and COO, who says the company recognised the major opportunities presented by booming demand for the fruit.

“Our company is well-known in the raspberry world with Enrosadira, EasyStar and EasyRock, and the exclusive Gil Program network, but the goal was to complete the range with something outstanding.”

Organic options

G-Berries began to explore a possible partnership deal in Argentina around one year ago.

Alessandro Gualandi. G-Berries’ variety development manager, says the fully organic nature of its blueberry breeding programme means it can offer strong and healthy plants with zero- to low-chill varieties that are suited to both soil and substrate production.

“The main points are shelf-life, crunchiness and flavour. All the varieties have an incredible crunchiness, even after long shipment from Argentina to Europe,” he notes. “Naike is the earliest one and the others help growers to extend the calendar as more as possible.”

Matteo Molari, also managing partner of G-Berries, says that potential partners for the Naike Blueberry Club are now being evaluated.

“We already have a company ready to invest in this new outstanding material and, during Fruit Attraction, we presented the club’s conditions and benefits,” he reveals. “We already had some contacts in China and India and we are now designing the strategy also for these two markets.”

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