A new plant breeding technology developed by the James Hutton Institute could help increase blueberry production in the typical Scottish climate. Part of a significant programme of Scottish Government funded research, this project aims to produce blueberry plants that are more suited to the Scottish climate, helping to provide local options of this healthy fruit.
The amount of blueberries grown in Scotland has increased by 10 per cent in just one year and the research developed could increase the production further.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said blueberries are an 'increasingly popular fruit' in the UK.
“They are widely considered to have health benefits and of course they count as one of the five a day for fruit and veg."
“Traditionally blueberries are imported into Scotland but this innovative research we are funding is using new technology to develop plants that are more suitable for the Scottish soil. Scottish blueberry production is already on the increase and this should help boost local production of this fruit – which is better for the environment and also good news for our economy.”
Julie Graham, who leads on the blueberry breeding programme at the James Hutton Institute said: “Cutting-edge plant breeding technology is enabling the James Hutton Institute to develop new blueberry cultivars.
“These cultivars, better suited to Scottish conditions, should enable an increase in the home-grown blueberry crop, which will be of benefit to Scottish soft fruit growers. Long term funding from the Scottish Government has been instrumental in supporting this research, as well as helping us to fully understand the health benefits of this fruit."