Another ‘nutty’ idea could lead to a brand-new almond industry in New Zealand.
Plant & Food Research says it is making 11 new blueberry varieties available to New Zealand-based growers, threee from the organisation's own breeding programme and eight licensed from Fall Creek Farm & Nursery in the USA.
Of the new varieties, three are Southern Highbush, seven are Northern Highbush and one is Rabbiteye.
According to Plant & Food, the new varieties produce large fruit with good flavour, with a range of seasonality. It adds that all have shown good adaptabilty fo New Zealand conditions in trials to date.
"These new varieties offer a significant opportunity for New Zealand growers to improve their blueberry production and offer new, tasty blueberries to consumers at home and overseas," says Gavin Ross, group general manager marketing and innovation.
"The new varieties produce tasty berries with high consumer appeal, and grow well in New Zealand conditions," he adds. "We hope the addition of these new varieties to the suite of plants available to growers will help expand the blueberry sector and increase export opportunities over the next decade."
Ross says growers are invited to apply for a non-exclusive licence to cultivate and grow the varieties for fruit production in New Zealand and for the marketing and sale of fruit worldwide.
Growers who sign up to a licence agreement will be able to place orders with authorised nurseries.
New Zealand currently produces 3,000 tonnes of blueberries from 640 hectares of land, earning $39 million in exports.
Plant & Food Research will gain royalty payments from the licensing arrangement, which it says will be used to further research that benefits New Zealand's AgriFood industries.
More information about the varieties and how to license them can be found on the Plant & Food Research website: www.plantandfood.co.nz.