Four strawberry firms team up

Leading breeders from four countries including the UK have joined forces to try to produce strawberry varieties that will prove commercial smash-hits.

The company, Hansabred GmbH & Co KG, is based in Germany - but one of the key partners is Meiosis, based in East Malling, Kent.

Hans Obers, chairman of the new group, said: "We want to have a new variety suitable for a big part of Europe, with better tasting and growing habits. Sometimes it can take 10 years or more to make a variety that is good, and sometimes it happens very quickly. We must be prepared for it to take a long time."

Other members of the company are Kraege in Germany, Planasa in Spain, and Vissers in The Netherlands. Obers said the company was still looking at how it would work with East Malling Research (EMR), which cut short a trial agreement with Meiosis earlier this year.

EMR launched its own breeding club in spring, and in November secured a big enough Defra contract to secure its long-term future.

Dr Klaus Olbricht, a breeder for the new-launch company, said his team had planted crosses of strawberries for evaluation.

He said collaboration between companies, working with propagators and co-operating with scientific institutes offered the best chance of successful breeding.


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