Bred by Crown Research Institute Plant & Food, the new pear – or cultivar – is known for the time being as PremP109. And it is an apple pear, a term increasingly used in the US.
It is a cross between a Chinese and a Japanese pear and it is hoped it will have strong consumer appeal in global fruit markets abroad.
Any of the CRI’s new pipfruit cultivars are commercialised by joint venture company Prevar which is owned by three shareholders – Pipfruit NZ, Apple & Pear Australia – each with a 45% slice – while Plant & Research holds the remaining 10%.
Dr Brett Ennis, Prevar’s chief executive in Hastings was quoted as saying early signs of take-up of the new pear cultivar are promising, more so than two other pear cultivars launched in 2005 – Maxie and Crispie – which didn’t have the necessary storage and shelf life to encourage exports. The new pear should overcome those issues.
“Maxie and Crispie haven’t gone that well. The 109 pear is quite an advance on that in terms of its attributes. It has an exceptionally good storage life and shelf life and has, we think, a better all round package.”
The pear breeding programme is a lot smaller than the apple breeding programme – the pipfruit industry in New Zealand harvests around 300,000 tonnes of apples while the pear crop would be around 1-2% of that.
“There are some export opportunities (with the new fruit) and some of the product that was harvested this year did find its way into the US,” Dr Ennis said.
“A very small volume was sent up there to help feed some market prospects in other regions where AIG (Associated International Group of Nurseries which manages new varieties) are looking to grow.”
AIG, a global network of nursery companies located in many of the world’s major fruit production areas, has the job of trade marking or `naming’ the new fruit.
As for the apple-pear moniker, in the United States, traditional Asian varieties like the nashi style pears are known as apple-pears, the report said.
“That name is actually starting to grab a little bit of gravitas, a bit of momentum, in Europe,” he said.
“The easiest way was to use the terms contiguously (side by side) so that people see they are used interchangeably. While people in the US don’t recognise the term necessarily – a nashi or Asian style pear – they know them up there as apple pears.”
The global apple industry produces about 60-65 million tonnes a year and pears around 18-20 tonnes.
Prevar is to shortly announce the release of another cultivar, a European pear. — Source: Stuff.co.nz