In this interview Reyes Moratal, the manager of CVVP, goes through the services rendered by this nonprofit business group that works together with breeders and licensees in the management of protected plant varieties.
Reyes Moratal, the manager of the Compañía de Variedades Vegetales Protegidas, gives a detailed explanation of the activities of this nonprofit business group, which provides the plant breeders with assistance and advice services that help them carry out their work and improve their results. The CVVP manages well-known plant varieties such as the late ripening mandarin Nadorcott and soon the business results of the Summer Prim lemon and the Leanri mandarin, which is also late ripening, will be disclosed. Now it has embarked upon a new project involving the Kibi kiwi. As well as the advice and the sales promotion, another essential task of the CVVP is to guarantee the fight against fraud and piracy, which is indispensable to safeguard the protected plant varieties.
Valencia Fruits. Although its brand is very well-known in the sector, could you explain what the Compañía de Variedades Vegetales Protegidas is all about for those who are still unfamiliar with it?
Reyes Moratal. The Compañía de Variedades Vegetales Protegidas AIE is a nonprofit organisation that brings together the holders of exploitation rights associated with plant varieties that are already protected or are in the process of adhering to this protection. Although each member has their own specific interests in their plant variety, they all have many needs in common. At CVVP we supply our members with the services that they require to manage and market their varieties. We put our knowledge, our experience, our human resources and materials at their disposal. However, the service is rendered to each member in a specific and personalised way so that each plant variety is always managed pursuant to the specific instructions of the member who entrusts us with the task.
The Company is an economic interest group, an EIG. As aforesaid, it is a company that has a nonprofit status. This obviously makes it different from other entities on the market that supply similar services. Its task is to promote development and improve the results of its members’ business activities. Seeing as it is not driven by generating profit, members do not see the price of the services supplied by the CVVV increase with the normal profit margin of a business transaction. Bear in mind that reducing the management costs is fundamental for any plant variety breeder or licensee, especially in the first few years until they start making money and get returns on their investment.
VF. When a breeder or licensee gains access to the CVVP services, what are they looking for?
Reyes Moratal. They want professionalism, of course. They want to work alongside those who already have experience in developing an activity that was completely unheard of in Spain until quite recently. At CVVP we are constantly evolving. We are prepared to manage any plant variety. In fact, our company gets publicity at trade fairs in the sector and in professional media so that it is available for any breeder/licensee that requires information or our services.
VF. What services does CVVP supply?
Reyes Moratal. We supply all kinds of services associated with new plant varieties. Assistance and advice when registering the plant variety, obtaining permits for the farmers, coordinating and controlling the delivery of the planting materials from the nurseries to the farmers, we coordinate the supervision and the control of the authorized farms. We promote the varieties, provide the farmers with technical assistance, we set up and coordinate tracking systems and other technological tools such as georeferencing plots of land, for example.
Of course, the fight against fraud and piracy are still essential in the management of the plant varieties, but the panorama has changed a lot in the last few years. Nowadays the farmers and all the operators in general, are aware of the existence of a plant variety protection system, which is necessary to promote the development of new varieties that benefit everyone and this system has earned widespread respect, even among those who were more reluctant to accept it.
Moreover, managing a variety is normally an enormous administrative task, which involves a lot of paperwork. Although a priori the specialisation to carry out this task might not seem to be necessary, the fact is that it is essential to have enough tools to improve the management and be more efficient and effective. If a breeder or an exclusive licensee does not have the right tools, the papers would literally swallow them up. At CVVP we have specific technology designed for this.
The key is that members share and supply each other with knowledge; this makes perfection possible. CVVP channels and all the members benefit.
VF. Some of the plant varieties that are managed are well-known on the market. What are the distinguishing characteristics of each of the mandarin varieties that are managed, some for years? And what about the Summer Prim lemon?
Reyes Moratal. The Nadorcott mandarin was the first that we managed. It is undoubtedly a highly regarded variety on the market; it is a late ripening mandarin par excellence, it is available from January to April. It is distinguished for its shiny reddish orange colour and its pith has a distinct pink tone to it. It is oblate in shape and it is very easy to peel. Its juice content can be as much as 60%, which is higher than that of similar varieties. It is a very high yield variety that produces seedless fruit in the absence of cross-pollination. In short, it is an excellent variety, for years it has obtained and maintained prices that are significantly higher than those of other mandarins on the market.
The Leanri mandarin has exceptional qualities too. The plantations in Spain are still very young. It wasn’t until spring 2017 that the planting material was given to the farmers. This is the first campaign with some commercial crop, but not a significant amount. It is too soon to evaluate, but it is proving to be a great success and it has been met with great expectation by the European distribution chains. The Leanri mandarin reaches internal maturity in January-February, about three weeks before Nadorcott. It is a reddish orange colour; it has a rounded shape and very smooth peel. It has high juice content, it is easy to peel and it ripens well.
The Summer Prim lemon is a bit like the Leanri mandarin. The first plantations and grafts started in 2017, which means that there will be some commercial crop in the next campaign, but not a significant amount. It is a late ripening Primofiorie type of lemon, which will be ready to sell on the market in the spring and summer months. By May its juice content reaches 50%. It therefore has the deseasonalization of the Fino lemon and it has numerous commercial advantages.
VF. But CVVP is not only involved with the citrus fruits, now it has branched out into kiwis as well, what can you tell us about Kibi?
Reyes Moratal. We are really excited about this new project and we are extremely grateful to our new member, Fruit Growing Quality, for relying on the CVVP to manage its three kiwi varieties.
We started promoting the varieties a few months ago, with the coordination and the signing of the agreements with the farmers. Despite the fact that up to now CVVP has only managed citrus fruit and, obviously, this is very different, we have adapted our procedures to the new requirements and we are confident that the new member will be satisfied with the service that CVVP provides it with.
Kibi is the brand used to market these two yellow kiwi varieties called Sunxy01 and Sunxy02 and the red kiwi variety Rossy. The homogenous taste of the yellow and red kiwis is contributing to their growing popularity among consumers.
They are varieties from the Actinidia Chinensis family and they have a great future in the agriculture of the Spanish mainland, in new areas of production that are different to the traditional ones. Unlike the green kiwis, which belong to the Actinidia Deliciosa family and need a minimum of 700-800 hours of chilling for a good flowering, these new varieties just need between 350 and 400 hours of chilling.
VF. What message would you like to give producers that want to become breeders and farmers who are looking for a new line of business based on protected plant varieties?
Reyes Moratal. Professionalization. Just like in any other business activity. Knowledge, specialization and good advice are needed. And at CVVP we can help you with that.