First apple to be launched from Hot Climate Programme
09 Jul 2020
‘HOT84A1’ is a mid-season, partial red-skinned sweet apple with a lightly crisp and very juicy texture. The first commercial trees will be planted in early 2021 on the Iberian Peninsula by Fruit Futur. A global network has been developed by strategic commercialisation partner T&G Global, with partners identified in New Zealand (Waimea Nurseries), South Africa (TopFruit), Europe (Dalival), UK (Worldwide Fruit) and Australia (Montagues), where trees will be propagated for commercial plantings in the coming years.
“It’s really exciting to see the first variety from the HCP enter its commercialisation phase,” says Dr Richard Volz from Plant & Food Research, one of the partners in the HCP. “Breeding new varieties of apples and pears takes time. A new commercial variety is the culmination of years of testing to make sure we have a tree that produces fruit that people want to eat, that we can grow and store the fruit in a way that will make sure the eating experience is consistent, and that growers can manage their orchards appropriately.”
Initiated in 2002 by Plant & Food Research in New Zealand, the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA) in Spain, and Fruit Futur, an association of fruit producers in Catalonia, the Hot Climate Programme develops new apple and pear varieties adapted to high temperature growing areas. At this time, growers in Spain, particularly in the Catalan region, had begun to experience issues with traditional varieties – the fruit was increasingly produced with low red colouring, sunburn, soft flesh textures and higher-than-average incidence of storage disorders. It was recognised that other apple and pear producing regions would begin to experience these issues as the global climate continued to change, and that varieties developed for these niche environments would be in increasing demand worldwide. T&G Global joined as the strategic commercialisation partner in February 2019.