Climate change, consumer tastes and new varieties require constant investment and research
Murcia is a region with an important agricultural tradition, and research into the ever-evolving world of agricultural production is just part of the remit of the regional government which includes a body known as IMIDA, the Murcian institute for agricultural and produce development and research amongst its projects.One of the product groups under investigation is that of stone fruit crops, and the institute is involved in a project with the Novamed consortium to evaluate the new varieties available to growers in the municipality of Abarán, where peaches, nectarines and paraguays are currently produced.
Climate change, consumer tastes and the availability of new varieties require a constant investment into research and the programme selects possible options for trial from around 8,000 new crosses currently available to agriculturalists in order to help them remain competitive and meet the demands of consumers.
Paraguays, which look like a squashed peach but have a remarkable flavour, are becoming increasingly popular and the emphasis in this region is changing from the traditional market of growing peaches for the canning sector to varieties which can meet the demand from the table fruit sector and peak at different points in the growing season.
This week the regional minister for agriculture visited a test finca to see some of the varieties currently under trial: red peaches, yellow peaches, white and yellow skinned nectarines, different varieties of Paraguay and platerines, a paraquay with the skin of a nectarine.
The programme has been running since 2005 and as a result of trials run by the institute, 18 new varieties have been selected as suitable for growers in the municipality and are now block planted on different farms in the area.
More innovations, they promise, are on their way.