Robotics has moved out of the talking stage and into the early doing stages, says the chief executive of Plant and Food Research, David Hughes.
The apple variety PremA129, which will be marketed and known as Dazzle®, is expected to be one of the biggest apple variety launches since Royal Gala decades ago. All New Zealand apple growers will be able to grow Dazzle, and all fruit exporters will be able to sell it.
Dazzle is a large, red, sweet apple which has taken 20 years to develop by Plant & Food Research (PFR) at their research station in Havelock North.
Fruitcraft, a marketing collaboration between three of New Zealand’s largest growers, Mr Apple, Bostock New Zealand and Freshmax, has been granted the master licensing rights for production and marketing worldwide.
Fruitcraft manager Steve Potbury says this is an exciting opportunity for New Zealand apple growers and others around the world.
“Dazzle is targeted towards the growing Asian markets. It has all the qualities which appeal to Asian consumers. It is a big, highly coloured and very sweet apple.
“We want to work with all growers to ensure they can grow and market it through their preferred exporter. This is a collaborative approach, which gives growers the chance to be involved from the orchards to the markets,” says Potbury.
Over 100,000 trees are already being grown by growers in New Zealand including Mr Apple, Bostock New Zealand and Freshmax, and nurseries are busy preparing rootstocks to meet grower demand for orders in the New Year.
Fruitcraft is forecasting 1 million cartons of the Dazzle apple will be exported from New Zealand by 2028, making it one of the country’s most popular apple varieties. Further production around the world is planned, and Fruitcraft will be looking to license growers and marketers in the main apple growing countries in the next year or two.
“We are confident of the success of this new apple given New Zealand’s largest growers are already committed to producing Dazzle, and we are starting to field positive inquiries from New Zealand and across the world.”
Prevar Commercial Manager Snow Hardy says this is a significant development for Prevar and the pipfruit industry around the world.
“There has been huge input into the Plant & Food Research breeding programme over the years and it’s now very exciting to roll out such a fantastic new variety to growers and exporters here in New Zealand and internationally. We are encouraging growers to get in behind this new apple variety and support this programme.”
The pipfruit development company Prevar is owned by Australian and New Zealand pipfruit growers and PFR and supported by MBIE and HIAL. Australian growers will have a similar opportunity to be involved with the Dazzle programme once the variety has been tested and proven in Australia.
Plant & Food Research scientist Richard Volz says Dazzle has been bred conventionally, through cross breeding between “Sweetie” and “Scired” by plant breeders at Havelock North in 1997.
“The parents and grandparents of the PremA129 variety all come from New Zealand. This has taken decades of work and investment by scientists at Plant and Food Research and the New Zealand pipfruit industry to develop a truly New Zealand apple with strong kiwi heritage,” said Volz.
Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Alan Pollard says this is another reflection of the sophistication and strength of an industry where growers, exporters and breeders are all working together to deliver high quality products to customers both in New Zealand and around the world.
“The opportunities for New Zealand growers and industry businesses with the release of this exciting new apple variety builds on our confidence and excitement as we approach our billion-dollar export target.
“We have evolved into a fully integrated industry that is forging ahead with sustainable growth, innovation, leadership and strategic vision.”