Pears with the best of East and West
New varieties with flavours that excite consumers and with storage profiles that support export to premium markets are key to the growth of the industry.
Since the mid-1990s, the pear breeding programme has released seven new cultivars to the market. These cultivars are all tailored to the New Zealand conditions, with intrinsic resistance to pests and diseases, as well as having good flavour and texture characteristics that consumers enjoy.
NEW PEARS DESIRED BY CONSUMERS
The most recent cultivars released in the breeding programme are interspecific pears – pears with mixed species heritage – that combine the best attributes from Asian and European pears. These fruits store better than traditional European pears, and have novel shapes, colours and flavours that appeal to consumers. The New Zealand pipfruit industry estimates that this new category of interspecific pears will have an export value of $60 million by 2023.
New cultivars are commercialised through a joint venture company, Prevar™ Limited, and are being grown in New Zealand, Australia, the USA, China and the UK, providing a year round supply for consumers. There are approximately 45,000 trees globally planted under license to Prevar™ and it is anticipated that this will increase to more than 350,000 by 2020.
The pear breeding programme is funded through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Prevar Limited™, with support from Plant & Food Research.
Pears that combine European and Asian characteristics to deliver consumer appeal
New Zealand exports 4,000 tonnes of pears each year, around 1% of the total volume of pipfruit exports, with a value of $9 million.