Strawberries an Economic Priority in England

While England may be under an austerity plan – there is one thing that isn’t being skimped on; and that’s strawberries. Scientists are now trying to create a new type of strawberry which will be resistant to climate changes. The goal is to make more hardy strawberries that will stay on the top of the summer menu for those in England.

Strawberry Demand

Interestingly enough, consumers have been asking for more and more strawberries since the early 1990s. At Wimbledon recently, tennis fans actually ate an estimated 60,000 pounds of strawberries during the matches!
Now, scientists from the East Malling Research center with funding from the Environment Department are working on creating a heartier and more durable strawberry. They want these strawberries to withstand the UK temperature changes better.

Making a Better Strawberry

The Environment Department has explained how they are approaching this task. They are working on crossing UK and foreign types of strawberries with traits that will make them more disease resistant and more able to deal with higher temperatures. The £670,000 research project includes growing strawberries in filed trials.

The Strawberry Priority

As Dr. David Simpson, from East Malling Research, said: “Consumer demand for fresh strawberries in the UK has been growing year-on-year since the early 1990s. The British growers have done a great job of increasing their productivity to satisfy demand between April and October. The future will be challenging due to the impacts of climate change and the withdrawal of many pesticides, but the breeding program at EMR is using the latest scientific approaches to develop a range of varieties that will meet the needs of our growers for the future.”

Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, added, “Strawberries are quite simply the taste of the summer, as inherently British as Wimbledon itself. Innovative research such as this may revolutionize the way we grow the nation’s favorite berry.”

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