Antonio Luengo, the Minister of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and the Environment, stated that the Region of Murcia was Spain's leading apricot exporter. The Region exported 37,082 tons, which account for 39% of the national total. Murcia is also the country's second-biggest exporter of peaches, behind Lerida, with 115,129 tons.
Luengo stated this on Thursday, during the inauguration of the IV National Stone Fruit Congress. "92% of stone fruit exports are destined for Europe. The main markets are Germany, France, and Italy," he stated.
"The regional government is currently promoting 38 innovation projects in the regional agricultural sector to modernize it, make it more competitive, and more environmentally friendly. Nearly 150 companies, associations, and entities are participating in these projects."
Luengo highlighted the important work done by the IMIDA, which is currently developing seven innovation projects regarding stone fruit crops, with the financing of nearly 600,000 euro.
"This research work is focused on the adaptation of varieties to climate change and water stress conditions," he said. "These new varieties have a great impact on farmers, who can already see significant improvements in their harvests."
The IMIDA has obtained and registered 21 new peach varieties, which are already being used by growers. The Japanese plum improvement program, developed in collaboration with CEBAS-CSIC, has created two new plum varieties (Victoria-Myrtea and Lucia-Myrtea), which have already been registered and are being marketed. These varieties are characterized by their early flowering and low cold needs, in addition to their excellent taste quality.
Other outstanding IMIDA investigations are the development of different integrated fruit crop management tools. An example is the development of a mobile APP that will allow interested parties to recommend the most suitable fruit varietal groups to grow in a given plot, according to the cold needs and the risk of frost in that plot.
The IMIDA is also working on the development of a mathematical function that will make it possible to establish the commercial productivity of a crop based on the amount of available water and the desired caliber.