Rijk Zwaan soft fruit breeding strawberries

Apr 25, 2023
Rijk Zwaan starts breeding soft fruit

Expanding its product profile, vegetable breeder Rijk Zwaan has entered soft fruit breeding.

Since the company’s 1924 foundation, Rijk Zwaan has been active in vegetable breeding. The company is now launching a new breeding program for soft fruit. The program is focused on broadening Rijk Zwaan’s product portfolio with strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.

Construction work for a new greenhouse at Rijk Zwaan’s facility in Dinteloord, in the Netherlands, marks the official start of the soft fruit breeding program.

“Rijk Zwaan has expanded considerably over the past 30 years,” Rijk Zwaan officials said in a news release. “This latest investment in soft fruit breeding represents a continuation of the company’s strategy of autonomous growth.”

Soft fruit is traditionally propagated vegetatively rather than from seeds, Pieter Egelmeers, Rijk Zwaan’s breeding manager, said in the release. “We are focusing on both in our breeding programme,” he said in the release. “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. As the company is at the beginning of its soft fruit breeding program, it is too early to state when Rijk Zwaan’s first soft fruit varieties will be ready for market, Egelmeers said in the release.

The facilities for the soft fruit breeding programme will be housed in a new building, which entails the construction of a greenhouse plus office. The new building is an extension of Rijk Zwaan’s existing facility in Dinteloord.

The vegetable breeding company is active in more than 100 countries and operates more than 35 subsidiaries spread over almost all continents.

The two main office locations are based in the Netherlands: one in De Lier (Westland) and the other in West Brabant. Close to Dinteloord, Rijk Zwaan has established its research and breeding location in Fijnaart.

Construction work officially started on April 18. The work is expected to be completed in 2024.

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