Rijk Zwaan has been active in vegetable breeding since its foundation in 1924. The company is now launching a new breeding programme for soft fruit, aimed at broadening its product portfolio with strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. Construction work for a new greenhouse at Rijk Zwaan’s facility in Dinteloord (the Netherlands) marks the official start of the soft fruit breeding programme.
Rijk Zwaan has expanded considerably over the past 30 years. This latest investment in soft fruit breeding represents a continuation of the company’s strategy of autonomous growth.
Breeding Manager Pieter Egelmeers explains: “Soft fruit is traditionally propagated vegetatively rather than from seeds. We are focusing on both in our breeding programme. Building on our knowledge of research, breeding and seed production, we hope to bring new and innovative strawberry, blackberry and raspberry varieties to the market that will of course add value for growers and other chain partners.”
On average, it can take between 6 and 16 years to breed a new variety. “We are still at the very beginning of our soft fruit breeding programme, so it is too early to say when Rijk Zwaan’s first soft fruit varieties will be ready to market,” says Egelmeers.
The facilities for the soft fruit breeding programme will be housed in a new building, which entails the construction of a greenhouse plus office. The new building is an extension of Rijk Zwaan’s existing facility in Dinteloord.
The vegetable breeding company is active in over a hundred countries and has more than 35 subsidiaries spread over almost all continents. The two main office locations are based in the Netherlands: one in De Lier (Westland) and the other in West Brabant. Close to Dinteloord, Rijk Zwaan has established its research and breeding location in Fijnaart.