Published on March 9, 2020 in Fresh Plaza

TopFruit focus on unlocking the potential of fruit which they market to the Southern African market and beyond

ARRA Varieties was recently featured in Fresh Plaza.  Click here to view the original article.

TopFruit recognises the fundamental value in the intellectual property of varieties and brands and have for over 40 years striven to assist with the building and protection thereof. Their focus is on unlocking the potential of all fruit which they market to the Southern African market and beyond. TopFruit represents new fruit varieties from breeders the world over as well as managing locally discovered mutations.

The company is very excited about the following exceptional varieties and programs from their Pome Fruit, Table Grape and Berry units, and believe they hold great future potential for producers.

Berry Unit

In the Berry unit, three breeding programs really stand out.

The IQ Berries breeding program in Australia includes a range of exciting, new, very low chill evergreen blueberry varieties. These berries ripen from April in Zimbabwe and June in Limpopo. They will also do very well in subtropical regions and have superior fruit qualities with a fresh, crunchy eating experience.

The University of Georgia, USA breeding program has a low to mid-chill, southern highbush range of varieties. These proven varieties such as Sweet Duchess & Maverick are renowned for their very early ripening, excellent eating quality and good production of fruit.

TopFruit also has the rights to the medium to high chill range of rabbiteye varieties from a New Zealand breeding program, New Zealand Plant and Food Research, these late flowering and late season ripening blueberry types are ideal for cold regions where the risk of frost can be lessened. The late rabbiteyes flower in October and bear fruit in the South African Western Cape province, from January through to March.

Pome Fruit Unit

In the Pome Fruit Business Unit, the following outstanding varieties have created a real buzz of excitement.

PremA093/Sassy™ was one of the apple varieties that stood out in their evaluation test blocks last season and this season’s harvest was no other. PremA093 offers superb eating quality and has an intense red colour. The apple is firm and crisp to bite, yet sweet and mild to taste. At full maturity, the fruit is full-block-red with an attractive light-yellow background. It boasts a distinctive conical shape.

The TP 15 -41/Eden Gold™ pear variety has an extremely low chill requirement and is known for its excellent eating quality, having a crisp, juicy, sweet, and subtle acidic taste. The texture is crunchy and remains this way throughout all storage stages including a supermarket shelf, with its unique flavour profile making it stand out from other early-season varieties.

Inored is a very attractive, bright red apple with a subtle and sweet taste. This beautiful apple is very productive, does not bruise easily, and stores exceptionally well. Along with having fantastic pack-outs, this apple has it all! TopFruit believes that Inored is an exciting option for African markets where the colour red and robustness of apples are crucial.

Bingo Gala is an exciting blushed cherry red, stable Gala apple mutation that was discovered in Grabouw, South Africa. It offers an extremely high bin pack-out with an average exportable class 1 pack-out of > 85% with more than 80% red colour surface area. This variety is production-friendly. Bingo Gala’s colour develops as it matures so it is easily managed with a two-pick strategy.

Bingo Gala is seen as a potential top seller in Asia, because of its high colour. It offers opportunities for South African producers to be more competitive in Asian markets with a higher coloured gala.

Table Grape Unit

The Table Grape unit has a long-standing relationship with Grapa Varieties Ltd and manage their world-renowned ARRA™ breeding program in Southern Africa. The ARRA™ varieties are successfully grown and marketed on six continents in over 30 countries, enabling their year-round availability. The ARRA™ breeding programme presents a new generation of very early varieties with captivating flavours. These varieties boast rain tolerance, suitability for cultivation under various conditions (including extreme weather), as well as unbeatable earliness.

TopFruit’s current position in South Africa and Namibia is very strong and their varieties are increasing in popularity. A few varieties to look out for:

ARRA Sweeties™ (ARRA 15) is well-known for one of its major attributes: being able to secure very good returns under adverse weather circumstances, as seen in recent times. Risk management is a critical part of growing table grapes, and this variety has proven that over time.

ARRA Passion Fire™ (ARRA 29) has in recent years been planted extensively due to its time of harvest and ease of production. Being an early red seedless variety that has stood the test of time in terms of evaluation, this variety has seen an extensive expansion in plantings. Growers now benefit from the variety’s high production and quality, as well as profitability, as seen in recent years and advocated by many exporters.

ARRA Honey Pop™ (ARRA 33) has generated immense interest among local growers. This variety makes an ideal replacement for any producer seeking the ultimate very-early white variety while maximising production efficiency. With the ease of production and minimum labour inputs, this will without a doubt be a winner in the future.

The future of the ARRA™ programme in South Africa and Namibia is exciting, and these varieties provide an opportunity to stand out in the market whilst successfully overcoming the challenges that arise year after year. TopFruit continues to refine its set of offerings to best accommodate local table grape producers.

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