Rijk Zwaan, the Netherlands-based breeding company, has announced the launch of a breeding program for soft fruit, marking a significant expansion of the company’s product portfolio. The program, which will focus on strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries, will utilize the company’s extensive knowledge of research, breeding, and seed production to bring new and innovative varieties to the market.
Construction work on a new greenhouse, which will house the soft fruit breeding program facilities, officially began on 18 April at Rijk Zwaan’s facility in Dinteloord. The new building extends the company’s existing facility and includes a greenhouse and office space. The project is anticipated to be completed in 2024.
Breeding Manager Pieter Egelmeers explained that the soft fruit breeding program would focus on vegetative and seed propagation. “We seek to bring new and pioneering strawberry, blackberry, and raspberry varieties to the market that will add value for growers and other chain partners,” he said.
It can take six to sixteen years to breed a new variety, and Egelmeers cautioned that it was too early to predict precisely when Rijk Zwaan’s first soft fruit varieties would be market-ready.
Launching the soft fruit breeding program is part of Rijk Zwaan’s strategy of autonomous growth according to the company’s statement. The company has expanded significantly over the past thirty years and operates in over one hundred countries with over thirty-five subsidiaries.
Anton van Doornmalen, Chairman of the Supervisory Board and co-owner of Rijk Zwaan, commented on the launch of the new program: “We are excited to continue our tradition of innovation and bring new and exciting products to market. The soft fruit breeding program is a natural extension of our expertise in vegetable breeding, and we look forward to seeing the results of our research and breeding efforts in the years to come.”
Image provided by Rijk Zwaan