Strengthening the value chains of lulo and blackberry
Competitive lulo and blackberry producers through selection of elite clones, integrated crop management and strengthening of value chains
Context of the story
The blackberry (Rubus glaucus Benth) is a socially important fruit because many farmers are economically dependent on its cultivation. It is well accepted in the market for fresh and processed consumption. It is considered a species in the process of domestication because the almost 11,000 hectares cultivated in Colombia have been originated through the selection of wild plants. Naranjilla (Solanum quitoense Lam.) is currently a popular consumption crop and of great economic importance in Ecuador. Despite the importance of lulo and blackberry, research on their floral biology, mode of reproduction, integrated management, and genetic improvement has been limited.
Research and Development
The implemented initiative
The general objective of the project was to optimize the productivity and quality of lulo and blackberry to strengthen value chains, improve the income of growers and protect the environment, through the selection of elite materials and the integrated management of crops. Specific objectives included: selecting elite materials, characterizing germplasm collections for genetic variability and resistance to pests, developing and evaluating biocontrol strategies, evaluating the performance, quality and profitability of selected elite clones, strengthening the capacity of farmers and technicians in integrated crop management, and strengthen crop innovation systems in Colombia and Ecuador.
The technological solution
The methodology implemented in the project followed the research and development process through four phases: (1) participatory selection of genetic material, (2) characterization and evaluation of genetic material according to the criteria of the different interest groups (producers , marketers, agribusiness, researchers and technicians), (3) development of regional tests with innovation management groups made up of representatives of the different actors in the production chain, and (4) training and dissemination of genetic material and more effective integrated management practices of the crop.
The characterization of 71 blackberry accessions and 43 lulo materials in Colombia stands out. In Ecuador, 108 blackberry accessions and 100 interspecific lulo hybrids were characterized. In both countries, blackberry accessions were found with characteristics superior to commercial ones; 14 in Ecuador and 9 in Colombia. From lulo germplasm; 9 materials were highlighted in Colombia with potential for improvement programs or commercial production and 9 materials in Ecuador. In Ecuador, the Naranjilla variety of INIAP-Quitoense 2009 juice was released. In Colombia, alternatives for massive propagation of planting material with genetic and phytosanitary quality were generated, at low cost for producers. Low-cost in vitro propagation systems for lulo were developed, implementing a materials propagation laboratory with the producer organization.