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Chile Unveils Its Tailored-for-China Cherry Variety

November 29, 2023

A new cherry variety known as Selection 21, or S-21, has been officially introduced to the public as a most promising new breed developed by Chile’s Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA) and biotechnology consortium BioFrutales under the Cherry Genetic Improvement Programme.

S-21 is the first cherry variety developed entirely in Chile and was designed with a focus on early maturation and a longer post-harvest life to ensure seamless exports to China, the main destination for Chilean cherries. Emphasis was also placed on the size, which had to be at least 28 millimeters, as well as a rich flavor and high productivity — not less than 18 metric tons per hectare, according to BioFrutales manager Rodrigo Cruzat.

Over the past 14 years, BioFrutales has reportedly assessed 50,000 different cherry trees in its experimental orchards in the Coquimbo and O’Higgins regions, of which approximately 40 trees were admitted to the intermediate selection phase and only seven were chosen for the final round. After having gained unanimous approval from the INIA’s Regional Committee on the Release of New Varieties, S-21 will move on to the registration process with the Chilean Agricultural and Livestock Service next year in order to become a commercial variety. Official planting is scheduled to begin in 2025.

S-21 was greenlighted in Chile’s central region of Coquimbo for its tolerance to warm temperatures during the winter months. The variety was also assessed in south-central Chile, demonstrating its potential for cultivation in the regions of Valparaiso, O’Higgins and Maule.

Considering this spring’s colder and rainier weather, the researchers are observing how S-21 performs in terms of potential fruit cracking and productivity rate in conditions that have historically affected other early cultivars. The conclusions are expected to be available toward the end of the season.

Industry sources report that a bicolor S-21 variety linked to the Rainier cultivar has a strong tendency toward jumbo and superjumbo size, reaching 32–34 millimeters. Furthermore, experts have stated that up to 90% of the fruit is uniform in size. Cherries of the S-21 variety retain their firmness and green stems after 30 days of cold storage, indicating great potential for export to distant markets such as China.

Image: Prensa Agricola

This article was based on a Chinese article. Read the original article.

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