CherryTech: Is Chile ready for varietal replacement?

CherryTech: Is Chile ready for varietal replacement?

Cherry industry can find the answer for this and more at CherryTech, the first specialized technical event in cherry production, which will take place on June 29th at the Sun Monticello Convention Center, 60km from Santiago, Chile.

Three keynote speeches, and later three important forums will be part of the program.  

Walter Masman, advisor and specialist in cherry and stone fruits, will moderate the forum titled: “Classic Varieties and New Varieties: Are We Ready for the Replacement?”

“The idea of the forum is to address the implications of the entire new varietal offer, the new genetic programs, and the challenge for the industry to continue maintaining a product that has been successful so far and undoubtedly improve it over time. This implies understanding their management, knowing that some aspects of the business will likely change, both in terms of plant acquisition, paying royalties, and the responsibility for the producer to have a product that must be equal to or better than the existing one,” said Walter Masman, forum moderator.

The specialist also highlighted the need to “educate oneself, see, and test things, taking into account that the majority of the new varietal offer also brings some type of prior knowledge.” This fruit species is not only produced in Chile, so it is possible to learn about the weaknesses and strengths of each new variety.

The forum dedicated to current and new varieties will have three panelists: Samuel Venegas, agricultural manager at Hacienda Los Quillayes; Óscar Aliaga, cherry specialist advisor, founder, and technical director of Only Cherries; Matías Kulczewski, fruit specialist advisor, founder, and technical director of K&R Consulting.

“The cherry industry has had the greatest growth of the entire national fruit industry in recent years. Consequently, this growth has tested the adaptability of all of us who participate in the production chain, from the fields to the end customers. However, the achieved growth has come hand in hand with higher demands. Customers prefer sweeter and firmer cherries, with better color and sizes, which has simultaneously favored the search and development of new varieties from different parts of the world that adapt better to each of the geographical areas where they are currently produced and also open up opportunities for areas where it was previously very difficult to consider cultivation,” said Samuel Venegas, agricultural manager at Hacienda Los Quillayes and panelist at CherryTech.

The renowned advisor, Óscar Aliaga, also referred to the interesting topic that will be discussed in one of the CherryTech forums, of which he will be a panelist: “The first question we have to ask ourselves is: Do we need new varieties or can we continue with the ones we traditionally have? Today, we are talking about main varieties such as Lapins, Santina, and Regina, considering Santina as the anchor variety for early-season, Lapins for mid-season, and Regina for late-season. For example, we can grow Santina further north or in less cold areas, but it limits its production because Santina requires more cold than the coast or the north can provide. So, there is a need in the northern region, in areas with less winter cold, to have varieties with lower cold requirements in order to have a broader early window that has all the necessary attributes, good post-harvest quality, and is accepted by the market. If the Chinese market don’t like it, we are in trouble,” said Aliaga.

The specialists emphasize the relevance of post-harvest quality for new varieties, considering that the fruit must maintain its attributes during the long journey to different markets.

“New varieties are a significant topic in the agriculture sector. As a professional, one of the relevant aspects of success for clients, entrepreneurs, and farmers who embark on cherry production is the choice of varieties. Thanks to entrepreneurial initiatives and a market that supports this matter, there are ongoing genetic improvement programs with many incursions of new varieties. Obviously, someone dedicated to this and studying the matter has made an effort to understand it as best as possible within their reality of an incipient and new state because until a variety acquires volume and is distributed throughout the entire supply chain, from the nursery to the end consumer, it is not possible to make a true judgment of it. There is a technical aspect that brings us together here, but there is also an important commercial aspect,” said Matías Kulczewski, fruit specialist advisor and panelist of the forum “Classic Varieties and New Varieties: Are We Ready for the Replacement?”

Kulczewski, along with Walter Masman, the forum moderator, Samuel Venegas, and Óscar Aliaga, will analyze this relevant technical topic in a panel discussion that will allow for covering different aspects of traditional and new varieties.

Tickets for CherryTech, which grant access to the keynote speeches and forums, are already on sale at www.cherrytechconvention.com.

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