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All countries 14/11/2019

Revolution in blueberry growing will affect the market and whole supply chain

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First genetics for blueberries were High chill varieties, growing in the North of America. These varieties needed +/- 1000 hours cold below 7°C, they were invented more than hundred years ago. 30 years ago low chill varieties appeared. Low chill grow now in Spain, Morocco. A blueberry genetics and nursery company at Fruit Attraction has introduced ZERO chill genetics available as open variety and accessible for all growers.

“New generation of genetics called “0 cold”, which means they do not need cold at all”, - explains Hans Liekens Commercial Manager EMEnA, Fall Creek. ZERO Chill genetics include large early AtlasBlue™ ‘FCM12-045’, medium-large BiancaBlue™ ‘FCM12-087’ and JupiterBlue™ ‘FCM12-131’ (mid-early and very early ripening respectively). Hans explains that these new genetics can grow in low chill areas, but also in 0-chill areas, like countries around equator, in Sahara, whenever there is water available. “New varieties will never sleep, that is why we call them evergreens”, - he adds.

This will cause revolution as now blueberries can be grown in countries where a year ago it was not possible. “Big advantage is grower can decide when he wants to have fruits, for example when price on the market is higher on blueberries. In the long term new genetics will create opportunity for Southern Europe and Africa, and even China to avoid blueberries from Peru or Chile as import countries.

So this will influence not only blueberry market and pricing, but whole supply chain”, - forecasts Hans Liekens.

Fall Creek launches ZERO Chill varieties to be accessible for all growers and they will be able to sell the fruit anywhere they want. Varieties will be available worldwide, they can grow everywhere below latitude 20 and equator, like Mexico and lower, in South Morocco until Zimbabwe area, India and part of China.

Fall Creek has been working on these genetics more than 9 years, so illegal multiplication is forbidden. The company will have to know where each plant will be growing.

“These ZERO chill varieties are also much better in fruit quality. In general these new genetic will provide Fruits that  will be bigger, firmer and less acid”, - adds Hans.

There is no minimum order, but for anyone wanting to buy these varieties there will be 2 criteria:
- grower should be good (with good reputation and able to achieve good results) and Fall Creek will really check this
- any company having issues with Intellectual property before will not be allowed in the program

“This is a step towards 52 weeks supply”, - shares Marketing Specialist Sjraar Billekens. New genetics plants will be available only on order and should be booked 16-24 months in advance.

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Hans Liekens Commercial Manager EMEnA, Fall Creek with AtlasBlue™ plant at Fruit Attraction, Madrid
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