An international Rubus Breeding Consortium Agreement has been signed at East Malling, Kent, to generate exciting new raspberry varieties for tomorrow’s consumers and gardeners.
The Consortium includes: Spanish fruit producer organisation, Onubafruit; Swiss garden plant suppliers, Lubera; UK fruit producer WB Chambers and East Malling Services (EMS), the commercial division of EMR.
Under this new five-year agreement, worth nearly £400k, existing genetic material at East Malling, including parental breeding lines and advanced selections already in trial, will all be exploited to produce a new generation of raspberries for the professional and amateur markets.
“Breeding new varieties is a long-term game, so we are delighted to be taking forward the vision that the East Malling breeders had one, two and even three decades ago,” commented Tim Chambers, Chairman of the new Consortium. He continued, “The genetic resources available to the new breeding programme will see both improved ‘traditional’ varieties being released as well as a number of varieties with very novel characteristics. These are, indeed, very exciting times.
Roger Carline, EMS Managing Director, who has masterminded this agreement, welcomed the possibility of expanding the Consortium’s remit to other berry crops (e.g. blackberries) and other territories, with new partners welcomed to join over the next year.
The first releases under this agreement are like to come as early as 2017 and would include two new primocane cultivars of outstanding fruit quality and two amateur varieties; one dwarf for container growing and a purple-fruited autumn berry.
Raspberry breeding at EMR had been underpinned by EMR, the East Malling Trust and Lubera since 2008 and was previously supported by Defra and a wide industry consortium.