"Thanks to resistant varieties we can supply our customers high-quality cucumbers year round"

Cucumbers growers all over the world are severely affected by diseases like the green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV), the New Delhi virus and Fusarium, resulting in problems not only for growers, but also for retailers and consumers. “Cucumber varieties with resistances such as those offered by Rijk Zwaan help us to supply our customers with high-quality products with guaranteed availability throughout the year,” comments Juan Tomas Cano Aguilera, Managing Director at Cohorsan SCA, part of the Spanish UNICA Group. Together with Rijk Zwaan’s Javier López Rodrígruez, he explains why strong genetics form the foundation to move ‘freshly forward’. This, is in line with Rijk Zwaan’s theme at Fruit Logistica in Berlin.

In which regions do these diseases present a problem?

Javier, Crop Coordinator Cucumber at Rijk Zwaan: “All cucumber-producing areas are susceptible to these kinds of problems. CGMMV is present in many different countries, such as Spain, the Netherlands, the UK, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Mexico and Morocco. Meanwhile, the New Delhi virus is transmitted by whitefly populations. These are common all over the world, so they can cause serious problems in places like Spain, Morocco and Italy as well as many countries in Asia.”

How much damage do these diseases cause?

Juan, Managing Director at Cohorsan SCA: “CGMMV is undoubtedly the main problem that can occur, causing very major losses – up to 100%. As a virus transmitted by contact, it is very difficult to control. Similarly, New Delhi is causing significant losses and whitefly populations are becoming increasingly hard to manage, which is why it is a challenging task to remain free of this virus. The losses caused can be very significant if the interference of the virus occurs at an early stage of the crop. Fusarium is a disease that we can live with thanks to the resistance provided by some cucumber varieties and also some rootstocks.”

Juan Tomas Cano Aguilera - Managing Director at Cohorsan SCA

Why are resistances to these diseases so important?

Juan: “From the point of view of our farmers, varieties with these resistances give them greater crop security and profitability. As an exporting company, it is very important to be able to plan product volumes. The resistances help us to avoid unexpected fluctuations due to large losses caused by these viruses and diseases, and mean we can supply our customers in a timely manner based on the agreed quantities.”

Javier: “Out of respect for the environment and in response to stronger consumer preferences for organic products, more and more cucumber growers are using natural enemies to control various pests and reduce the need for pesticides. This means that genetic resistances are essential to maintain a healthy crop and a high yield.”

Which solutions does Rijk Zwaan offer?

Javier: “We offer growers a range of Bon Defense cucumber varieties that have a resistance against CGMMV. Our Delhi Defense cucumber varieties protect against infection with the New Delhi virus, and For Defense protects against infection with Fusarium. Varieties with the Blueleaf label have dark, blue-green foliage with stronger natural resistances. Plants remain productive for longer, even in the case of infection with CYSDV. A lot of our new varieties combine these resistances.”

Javier López Rodríguez - Crop Coordinator Cucumber Rijk Zwaan

Which strong, resistant cucumber varieties are most successful?

Javier: “For the spring and summer, Maritimo RZ – with Blueleaf and Bon Defense – is one the most important varieties in this segment. In response to problems with New Delhi, we recently introduced Trueno RZ, a variety with the most complete package of resistances: Blueleaf, Bon Defense and Delhi Defense. In the autumn and winter, the New Delhi virus is the main problem. In the most recent seasons, Vortice RZ – with Blueleaf and Delhi Defense – was the most proven and reliable variety, but Abysal RZ – with Blueleaf and Bon Defense – is also successful in the market. Besides having resistances, these varieties are vigorous and produce high-quality and uniform cucumbers.”

Vortice RZ

How do the resistant varieties help retailers to secure the availability of long cucumbers?

Juan: “Thanks to varieties with resistances such as those offered by Rijk Zwaan, we can supply our customers with high-quality products with guaranteed availability throughout the year. Otherwise we would have to endure moments of scarcity. If genetics offers us solutions, we cannot ignore them.”

What can customers expect from Rijk Zwaan in the future?

Javier: “We are strongly committed to developing varieties with all the required resistances. Breeding takes time, but we enjoy the challenge of integrating the different resistances into cucumber varieties while maintaining good production, adaptability and fruit quality. As a leading company in cucumber varieties in many countries, we want to ensure yield and profitability for all our customers throughout the chain. This is how we can help them to move ‘freshly forward’.”

‘Freshly Forward, from Foundation to Future’ – this is the theme Rijk Zwaan has chosen for tackling today’s challenges, together with its partners. We will be presenting robust and resilient solutions as well as inspiring innovations at Fruit Logistica 2024 (Hall 1.2, D-13). You are also welcome to visit the Rijk Zwaan Retail Center in Berlin – the company’s very own experience and research facility.

Join Rijk Zwaan in moving Freshly Forward!