Published: 09:19, 14 February 2019
| Updated: 09:21, 14 February 2019
A variety of strawberry developed in the county has hit a major milestone after more than 60 million of the plants were sold to growers last year.
The Malling Centenary variety was developed at NIAB EMR (East Malling Research) and first released in 2013.
It was created by the work of the East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club, a consortium which includes: BerryGardens Growers Ltd, SoloBerry Ltd (formerly CPM Retail Ltd), Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (formerly HDC), Mack Ltd and Meiosis Ltd.
Mario Caccamo, managing director of NIAB EMR said: “Named to celebrate a century of fruit science and innovation at East Malling research station, it is a fabulous tasting strawberry and a very strong performer for the growers.
“We recently passed total sales of 130 million plants and the commercial success of the variety is now helping to retain world-class science here in Kent.”
The Malling Centenary is commercially protected after securing Plant Variety Rights (PVR), enforceable across the EU and around the world. The PVR, effectively a patent, protects the rights of NIAB EMR as the breeder and financially supports the breeding of new varieties and research.
Gross royalty income of nearly €1.4M (£1.23m) will be generated for the members of the East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club, with total royalty returns to date exceeding the original investment to breed the variety.