The move will allow NIAB to concentrate on its soft fruit research, similar to its already established programmes in arable crops, as the organisation moves to prioritising the provision of translational research to benefit growers, consumers and the environment. It will also open up new opportunities to work with leading soft fruit breeders and propagators across the industry, including Bayer.
Under the terms of the transfer, to be finalised in January 2024, the strawberry programme will continue to operate from NIAB’s East Malling site in Kent. NIAB retains the raspberry and cherry variety breeding programmes.
NIAB CEO Professor Mario Caccamo says: “NIAB is extremely proud of the strawberry breeding programme that first began at East Malling in 1983 and more recently, from 2008 to 2023, was funded via the East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club (EMSBC) with investment and support from both public and private companies, to which we thank all those involved.
“In that time we have launched nearly 50 varieties of soft fruit with sales exceeding 400 million plants, including the popular and well-known strawberry Malling™ Centenary and raspberries Malling™ Bella and Malling™ Charm. Bayer’s acquisition will ensure this success, and legacy, is protected and strengthened, opening up new opportunities and markets for this leading programme. We look forward to continuing our links with Bayer, ensuring the benefits of high-quality crop research and innovation are transferred effectively into practical agriculture,” finishes Professor Caccamo.
Read more the Bayer website - Bayer expands its fruits and vegetables business to strawberries