UF/IFAS And Florida Foundation Seed Producers Inc. Sign Blueberry Marketing Agreement With The Royal Group Of Spain
Chuck Woods (352) 392-1773 x 281
GAINESVILLE, Fla.—Blueberry varieties developed by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) will be marketed in the European Union under a new licensing agreement signed by Florida Foundation Seed Producers Inc. and the Royal group of Sevilla, Spain.
The new licensing agreement does not affect nurseries in Florida and other states that already have access to UF/IFAS-released varieties through Florida Foundation Seed Producers Inc.
Berry Treat, germplasm property manager for Florida Foundation Seed Producers Inc. in Gainesville, said the agreement provides an exclusive master marketing license to the Spanish firm to propagate, grow and sell southern highbush type blueberry cultivars in the European Union, North Africa and central Asia.
“This means that the plant propagation material of the protected varieties cannot enter this territory from other parts of the world without a prior authorization from Royal,” Treat said. “Both Royal and UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will make sure that the plant breeder rights to property protection are respected.”
He said Royal has a long history of supporting UF research on stonefruit (peaches, nectarines, plums and apples), and the firm is “uniquely positioned” to promote UF southern highbush blueberry variety propagation and marketing throughout their territory. Florida Foundation Seed Producers Inc. is a non-for-profit corporation that acts on behalf of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, which is part of UF/IFAS.
He said the master marketing license allows Royal to perform sales within the EU, planting varieties in production fields, offering for sale and/or selling fruit or fruit products containing special southern highbush blueberry varieties. The blueberry varieties include Bluecrisp, Emerald, Jewel, Millennia, Sapphire, Sebring, Southern Belle, Southmoon, Star and Windsor. The licensing agreement may eventually include three new blueberry varieties released by UF this month: Abundance, Springhigh and Springwide.
Jean-Clément Marcaillou, research director at Royal, said the UF blueberry varieties “will allow us to be marketers of the highest quality fruit available within Europe.”
Paul Lyrene, a UF professor of horticulture who has developed many blueberry varieties, said Royal is a major producer of low-chill peaches, nectarines, plums and strawberries. Royal has previously worked with Florida Foundation Seed Producers Inc. to commercialize UF peach and nectarine varieties in Europe.
“The emphasis of the company is on high fruit quality,” Lyrene said. “Their location in southern Spain enables them to ship fruit to Germany, France and other European markets before local production is available further north.”
Lyrene said UF has been a leader in the development of blueberry and peach varieties that can be grown where winters are too mild to grow most deciduous fruits. In addition to adapting fruit to mild winters, the Florida blueberry breeding program has emphasized larger berry size, better flavor and improved ability to withstand long-distance shipping. These characteristics make the Florida varieties of great interest to Royal.