Research: Cultivar Evaluation

Cultivar Specialists:
Johan Joubert (CRI)
Stephen Meeding (CRI)

Technical Assistant (PE):
Zongezile Zondi (CRI)


Evaluating prospective cultivars in different climatic regions

CRI's mission is to maximize the long-term global competitiveness of the Southern African citrus producer. Cultivar Evaluation has therefore been established as one of the strategic objectives of the Citrus Industry to meet the dynamic cultivar requirements of the industry. These include making available to growers appropriate and objective recommendations of existing and new cultivars. Selection of these cultivars has been aimed at creating a range of cultivars that mature at different stages during the season and are harvested as close to peak maturity as possible to avoid the problems associated with under and over mature fruit. The maintenance and development of local genetic resources that contribute to the Industry's core objective of gaining and maintaining market access are of paramount importance. In addition, keeping a close association with the Private Cultivar Companies in South Africa as well as with the international cultivar breeding world to remain up to date on new developments throughout the citrus world, are further important functions of Cultivar Development. Furthermore Cultivar Evaluation and Breeding has launched a mutation selection and breeding programme aimed specifically at the requirements of our markets.

Cultivar Evaluation is driven by the cultivar requirements which are prioritized to enhance long-term sustainability in a constantly changing world. This overview aims to detail how Cultivar Evaluation and Breeding will lead the introduction and commercialisation of new citrus cultivars to meet the changing requirements of the markets, and optimize accessibility of cultivars to Southern African citrus producers.

Southern African citrus producers will have timely access to (i) new citrus cultivars at favourable terms and conditions, (ii) impartial and appropriate cultivar related information to enhance decision-making, and (iii) new cultivars that give a full seasonal spread to achieve a continuous flow of superior quality fruit.

To provide Southern African citrus producers with rapid access to new citrus cultivars and associated information to enhance global competitiveness.

Strategically Cultivar Evaluation needs to focus on the following points to achieve its objectives:

  1. Analysis of consumer needs.
  2. Status of cultivars available and what is required.
  3. Communicate with the Private Cultivar Companies on the status of their cultivars.
  4. Provide independent and objective information on all citrus cultivars.
  5. Optimise stakeholder returns through cultivar-specific commercialization.
  6. Advance South Africa as the leader in cultivar innovation.