Construction work has begun for a new greenhouse at Rijk Zwaan’s facility in Dinteloord (the Netherlands) marking the official start of the company’s expansion into soft fruit breeding.
The company says it will work on a portfolio including strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, continuing the company’s strategy of autonomous growth. Breeding Manager Pieter Egelmeers explained, “Soft fruit is traditionally propagated vegetatively rather than from seeds. We are focusing on both in our breeding programme. Building on our knowledge of research, breeding and seed production, we hope to bring new and innovative strawberry, blackberry and raspberry varieties to the market that will of course add value for growers and other chain partners.”
On average, it can take between 6 and 16 years to breed a new variety. “We are still at the very beginning of our soft fruit breeding programme, so it is too early to say when Rijk Zwaan’s first soft fruit varieties will be ready to market,” added Egelmeers.
The facilities for the soft fruit breeding programme will be housed in a new building, including a new greenhouse and office, an extension of Rijk Zwaan’s existing facility in Dinteloord.
Rijk Zwaan is active in over a hundred countries and has more than 35 subsidiaries spread over almost all continents. The two main office locations are based in the Netherlands in De Lier (Westland) and West Brabant, while its main research and breeding location is at Fijnaart near Dinteloord.
Construction work on the new fruit breeding facilities officially started on Tuesday 18 April, in the presence of Kees Reinink (Board Member), Anton van Doornmalen (Chairman of the Supervisory Board and co-owner of Rijk Zwaan), employees in soft fruit breeding and construction partners. The work is expected to be completed in 2024.