11 January 2024, Netherlands: After introducing the first tomato varieties with high resistance to ToBRFV from the new Rugose Defense line, Rijk Zwaan strengthens its partnership with Fri-El Green House, an alliance that has been established for several years. At the end of 2022, the seed company launched the Rugose Defense line, tomato varieties with high resistance (HR) to ToBRFV. Identifying a genetic source resistant to the virus was a priority in the varietal development programs, leading to the creation of the new HR ToBRFV portfolio, well-stocked with all the main tomato types: clusters, cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes, and cocktail tomatoes.
Rugose Defense in Rijk Zwaan’s cocktail assortment
Cocktail tomatoes are a long-standing strength of Rijk Zwaan. New varieties with high resistance to ToBRFV include Amelioso RZ F1, Lucioso RZ F1, Rexoso RZ F1, Spirioso RZ F1, and Valerioso RZ F1. These premium products uphold the promise of delivering taste, shelf-life, and – of course – virus resistance.
Valuable partnership with Fri-El Green House
With a customer-based strategy, selecting key global tomato players for testing the new varieties, Rijk Zwaan strengthens its partnership with Fri-El Green House, one of the major players in Italian high-tech tomato cultivation, marketed under the H2Orto brand.
“Last May, the Fri-El Green House team visited our Trial Centre High Tech in the Netherlands,” says Leonardo Barsalini, Crop Specialist Tomato at Rijk Zwaan Italy. “The trial centre is a showcase greenhouse, focused on sustainability and innovation. The visit was an opportunity to showcase the Rugose Defense line, while defining a strategy that meets the needs of Fri-El Green House. In addition to virus resistance, the new varieties ensure high productivity, taste, and shelf-life, proving effective from various perspectives, and benefiting the entire supply chain.”
ToBRFV represents a global issue, and Fri-El Green House has opted for a “genetic safety” direction with these new Rijk Zwaan tomato varieties. “Through meetings between our experts and Rijk Zwaan Italy’s industry specialists, we have gathered the necessary information to initiate specific cultivations of ToBRFV-resistant tomato varieties,” declares Florian Gostner, CEO of Fri-El Green House.
“After the experience gained in previous years, we decided to double the production area of cocktail tomatoes, choosing exclusively varieties resistant to ToBRFV. We also replaced the varieties in the medium truss segment with those highly resistant to ToBRFV. For both segments, the choices made for the summer season have yielded excellent results both agronomically and commercially, thanks to the high quality of the product in terms of shelf-life and taste,” adds Gostner.
Rugose Defense varieties enable higher production and increase quality
During the 2023 German Fruit & Vegetable Congress in Dusseldorf, Michael Zagler, export manager of Fri-El Greenhouse, reiterated that with Rijk Zwaan’s ToBRFV varieties, neither taste nor quality is compromised in meeting the needs not only of producers, retailers or the end consumer.
“Thanks to these varieties, we can maintain or even increase the quality and volumes of our productions. Along with the application of hygiene protocols aimed at prevention, cultivating these hybrids provides us with great production security. Identifying a genetic source that increases resistance to the virus is a significant advantage for everyone,” continues Gostner.
Sustainable production methods in a controlled environment means Fri-El Green House can respond to environmental and ecological challenges, such as nickel-free certification. “Fri-El Green House offers a significant share of products in this direction,” reflects Gostner. “With the H2Orto brand, we are confident of witnessing an increase in sales both domestically and in Europe. For the next season, as was already done this year, we will further increase the cultivation areas of mini plum tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes to provide greater availability to Italian and foreign retailers.”
Due to its global breeding programs, Rijk Zwaan offers its partners increasingly innovative and winning solutions in terms of quality and production.
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