Productivity of clonal plants

Increased productivity with avocado clonal plants

The ever-increasing demand for Peruvian Hass avocado in international markets requires domestic production to increase the productivity of the fields. Thus, ahead of this situation, in 1999 the Camet Trading team took the first steps towards what today has become the most advanced avocado clonal propagation nursery in the country.

It is the mother nursery of others located in Limatambo (Cusco) and Paiján (La Libertad); it seeks to expand its position with additional nurseries this year. Originally, the nursery was located within the Casa Blanca estate, also in Chilca, Cañete, and then moved in 2006 to the San Cayetano estate, where it remained until the landslides caused by El Niño coastal El Niño in 2017, wiped out the infrastructure and more than 17 thousand seedlings.

Under the leadership of the head, Maria Elena Carvo, the nursery has been rebuilt on land at a higher altitude. Clonal avocado seedlings are a new technology that allows improving productivity in the fields; due to a greater uniformity of the plantation and a higher average annual production, the percentage of clonal seedling mortality is lower compared to conventional seedlings, reducing the problem of root bending, and in the case of the Dusa rootstock, it has tolerance to Phytophthora, which guarantees longer-lived commercial fields, says Carvo.

Camet Nurseries will produce 80 thousand clonal avocado seedlings this year and has the capacity to produce 300 thousand seedlings per year. We continue to produce conventional seedlings, but there are fewer and fewer requests for them: this year we will make only 50 thousand, adds María Elena. In addition, the company projects that, by 2019, its nurseries will produce around 200 thousand seedlings, between clonal and conventional, to supply its associated producers. The investment in a specialized nursery is a fundamental piece to improve the profitability of its associated growers fields. It is not a commercial nursery; it is a support nursery for our growers where we sell seedlings at cost and, in many cases, with financing for one to three years, he explains. Camet Trading operates in 15 regions of Peru and continues to expand its product portfolio: mango, mandarin, table grape,blueberry, and pomegranate. In 2017, it exported more than 560 containers of avocado, maintaining its position as one of the main players in the export of this product. For 2018, it plans to export between 650 and 700 containers of avocado and 250 containers of other products in its portfolio.

Tailor-made methodology

María Elena Carvo has been trained and continues to be in contact with Brokaw Nursery in California, USA, and with the research division of the multinational Westfalia Fruit in South Africa, of which Camet Trading has been a member since 2016. We learned that you cant copy what has worked elsewhere, you have to adapt the theory to our reality, he says.

It all starts with a tailor-made technology that has taken seven years of experimentation to adapt to the reality of the country and that is still under research and development. A procedure in which a first graft of the Dusa rootstock is made and then another of the Hass variety that takes between 14 months and 16 months to be ready for planting in the final field.

The cloning process is a special method that requires great dedication and where, as Carvo points out, there is nothing standardized, each process has to be adapted to the specific conditions of the site. The use of clonal seedlings is widespread in the United States and South Africa. It is currently growing rapidly in Chile and Peru is expected to start soon for new cultivation fields and replacement of old fields.

Source: Agro & exportación