A variety of strawberry developed in the county is proving one of the success stories of the summer.
It is believed the Malling Centenary - developed at NIAB East Malling Research (EMR) - will have toppled the 59 million mark this summer for the number of plants cultivated - up 15m on last year.
First released in 2013, the Malling Centenary is a product of the first tranche of the East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club, funded by a consortium of growing specialists.
Mario Caccamo, managing director of NIAB EMR said: “Named to celebrate a century of fruit science and innovation at East Malling Research, Malling Centenary is a fabulous tasting strawberry and a very strong performer for the growers.
“The commercial success of the variety is now helping to retain world-class science here in Kent.”
Commercially protected thanks to Plant Variety Rights (PVR), it means royalties are earned wherever the fruit is grown and sold worldwide.
Mark Coxeter, chief executive of Meiosis, based at Bradbourne House on the East Malling Estate and which manages the collection of royalties, said: “The success is the result of growers and supermarket buyers recognising it offers great taste, a regular conical shape, good skin, and firmness of the flesh, and strong shelf life. That can only be achieved through investment in breeding programmes.”