The Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Poma de Girona will begin to market five varieties of apples adapted to warm climates within five years. In this way, the 80 producers of the group are preparing for the consequences of climate change and the resulting progressive increase in temperature.
At the Fruit Logistica fair, held in Berlin in early February, the promoters of this programme signed an agreement with the global leader in fruit production and marketing Turners & Growers Global to sell and continue to develop new varieties of apples and pears adapted to warm climates. These varieties are already being produced and are characterised by excellent quality and high coloration under high temperature conditions. They also have resistance to pests and diseases in warm areas.
The president of the IGP, Llorenç Frigola, explained that the genetic improvement programme gives the opportunity to Poma de Girona to be in “the elite of the world apple production and marketing.” With these varieties, the partners of the IGP Poma de Girona will be able to offer consumers varieties produced in local conditions and reduce the need for imports, which, together with a more efficient use of natural resources to be better adapted to the climate, will result in in an improvement of sustainability.
This international improvement program uses both New Zealand and local varieties to identify the best combinations for these hotter climates. Since 2002, when the program was launched, the objective has been to create new varieties with a high quality of taste that give satisfaction to the consumer and at the same time adapt to the climatic conditions of the production area of Catalonia.
Poma de Girona consists of the companies Girona Fruits, of Bordils; Frutícola Empordà, of Sant Pere Pescador, and Giropoma Costa Brava, of Ullà. It is the leading apple producer in the Iberian Peninsula with 80,000 tons per year. Since 2003, the brand has been part of Fruit Futur, the Institute of Agri-Food Research and Technology (IRTA) of the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food and the New Zealand-based scientific company Plant & Food with the international programme Hot Climate Program (HCP), whose objective is to develop new varieties of apples and pears adapted to growing areas with high temperatures.
Currently, in the demarcation of Girona there are 2,284 hectares of apple trees, 84% of which (some 1,700 hectares) are part of this PGI. The three companies affiliated to Poma de Girona produce and market six varieties: Gala, Golden, Fuji, Red Delicious, Granny Smith and Pink Lady that are grown in Baix Empordà, Alt Empordà, La Selva and Gironès. However, only four of these varieties (Golden, Gala, Red Delicious and Granny Smith) are covered by the PGI.