A levy will help modernise the $35 million strawberry industry, says Michael Ahern, executive manager of Strawberry Growers NZ Inc.
T&G Fresh is the domestic business of T&G Global and manages the production, sales and importing of all its fresh produce sold in New Zealand.
In the deal, it will test, grow and market unique strawberry varieties from California-based Plant Sciences Incorporated (PSI) – an international berry breeder and agricultural research company.
“We’re very excited about the prospect of working with the PSI team and, through our expert growers, bringing these great premium varieties to Kiwi consumers,” says Andrew Keaney, T&G Fresh managing director.
“We’ll be working with our New Zealand strawberry growers over the coming months and years to trial and transition to these exciting genetics, and we’ll also be the first port of call for any growers who want to include PSI berries in their operations.”
He says the deal demonstrates the company’s commitment to developing strong IP and partnering with other passionate growers to enable the year-round supply of the tastiest berries for consumers.”
Keaney says initial feedback is very exciting with yields, fruit quality, shelf-life, growing and harvesting efficiencies and fruit flavour all performing well.
“As well as looking at superior flavour, texture, shelf-life and colour, we’re also focused on developing varieties that reduce growing costs and increase productivity.
“We have a range of varieties that are suitable for various growing methods, such as tunnel house, outdoor table-tops and traditional field production”
He says because labour is a significant and ever-increasing cost, developing and choosing varieties that are easy to harvest is also a focus for the company.
PSI is an agricultural research company that focuses on plant breeding and propagation of berry crops for the global marketplace.
Since 1985, it has been leading the way in innovation in small fruits plant breeding with exclusive genetics being grown in more than 50 countries around the world.
Scott Nelson, global development for PSI, says his company is excited about the opportunity to bring innovative varieties to the New Zealand strawberry industry.”
“Working closely with both T&G Fresh and their growers, we believe higher yields, better flavour and increased shelf life are achievable traits that will not only increase the margins to the farm but give consumers better tasting and longer lasting strawberries.”