An industry-led consortium involving Worldwide Fruit and East Malling Services will direct the selection, trialling and evaluation of promising material, underpinned by a pre-breeding research programme to develop markers for quality and disease resistance.
Other priorities for the programme will be flavour, main-season fruiting, storage ability and shelf life, and a tree architecture suitable for modern cropping systems.
The science at East Malling will be led by geneticist Dr Richard Harrison. "Modern science can dramatically improve the efficiencies and outputs of traditional breeding programmes," he said.
"This new programme will have direct access to strategic science, ensuring commercially successful varieties with strong resilience to both climatic and pest and disease challenges."
- For further coverage of Fruit Focus, please see the next issue of Grower.