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Multi-Million Investment For New Apples And Pears

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Multi-Million Investment For New Apples And Pears

New Zealand and Australian pipfruit growers have recommitted to a multi-million dollar joint venture to produce new apple and pear cultivars.

Together, Australasian growers will invest NZ$11.5 million over the next five years through their established joint venture company, PrevarTM Limited.

PrevarTM was formed in 2004 to commercialise new apple and pear cultivars from the pipfruit breeding programme at Plant & Food Research. The programme develops new cultivars that meet consumer demand for novel, great tasting, healthy and convenient apples and pears for domestic and export markets.

The $11.5 million investment will be shared equally between Pipfruit New Zealand (PNZ) and Apple & Pear Australia Limited (APAL). Plant & Food Research has also recommitted to the joint venture agreement, as a 10% shareholder, and the Associated International Group of Nurseries (AIGN®) has been appointed as a key service provider for global cultivar distribution and evaluation.

"This reinvestment in PrevarTM demonstrates the strong foundation the company has built over the past five years," says CEO Dr Brett Ennis. "The skills and expertise of our partners will allow us to build on the lessons we have learnt and deliver new, exciting cultivars to Australasian growers."

PNZ and APAL will provide access to apple and pear growers in New Zealand and Australia for late stage commercial trials, as well as marketing and management of new cultivars.

"PNZ remains very committed to PrevarTM. The New Zealand pipfruit industry will continue to benefit from the new cultivars with growers having the first supply opportunities in world markets," says Ian Palmer, Chairman of Pipfruit New Zealand.

"APAL believes that PrevarTM has made good progress in developing world class apples and pears," says Tony Russell, General Manager of APAL. "In the six years since its inception, Prevar has demonstrated the quality of its commercial pipeline, and we are excited to provide support into the future."

Australian investment in PrevarTM has been facilitated by Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) in partnership with APAL. It is funded by apple and pear levies as well as voluntary contributions. The Australian Government provides matched funding for all HAL's R&D activities. Plant & Food Research will provide research and intellectual property to the joint venture, as well as reinvestment of royalties derived from cultivars developed in the breeding programme.

"Plant & Food Research has an established track record in pipfruit breeding, with a number of successful cultivars already available in the global marketplace," says CEO Peter Landon- Lane. "PrevarTM has great potential to deliver new, exciting cultivars for premium export markets, and we look forward to building on the strong partnerships established over the past six years."

AIGN®, a founding partner in PrevarTM Limited, will continue to provide the linkages and logistics necessary for new cultivar global distribution, testing, intellectual property management and propagation. Lynnell Brandt, president of AIGN®, says, "AIGN® continues to be very proud of its role with PrevarTM as it moves forward on the world stage. Growers will continue to see the benefits from this on-going relationship in their orchards in the years ahead."

"PrevarTM has released five new apple cultivars and three new pear cultivars since 2005 with additional licenses to be concluded in the very near future," says Dr Ennis.

PrevarTM gratefully acknowledges the New Zealand Foundation for Research Science and Technology for co-funding the related science discovery that underpins the commercial breeding programme.

"There is little doubt that the success of the programme is attributable to the investment that FRST have made," says Dr Ennis.

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