[7 February/Stuff]

Climate change will threaten New Zealand’s ability to grow apples which has prompted scientists to start developing new hot climate varieties. The qualities that make New Zealand apples like Jazz and Envy successful on the world stage are a result of the country’s temperate climate, and require cold nights and warm days. Fruit produced in hot climates also don’t store as well, affecting their ability to be exported. Plant & Food Research has teamed up with IRTA, its equivalent in Catalonia, Spain, to establish a hot climate breeding programme. T&G Global will commercialise these new hot climate varieties in New Zealand and overseas. As well as safeguarding New Zealand’s ability to grow apples in the future, it’s hoped some of these new varieties expand the range able to be grown in more marginal regions like Central Otago, or open up new regions entirely.