Seed Industry

Rijk Zwaan starts breeding soft fruit

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24 April 2023, Netherland: 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.

Soft fruit breeding programme

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.”

Market-ready varieties

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.

New greenhouse

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.

Two locations in the Netherlands

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.

Construction work officially started on Tuesday 18 April, in the presence of Kees Reinink (Board Member), Anton van Doornmalen (Chairman of the Supervisory Board and co-owner of Rijk Zwaan), employees in soft fruit breeding and construction partners. The work is expected to be completed in 2024.

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