1.3 million pounds in new research for Scottish berry producers
British berry lovers could get their favourite fruits all year round thanks to three new pioneering UK government funded research projects set to revolutionise Scottish berry production, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said ahead of the Royal Highland Show.
£1.3 million from the government’s £70 million Agri-Tech Catalyst has been awarded to projects led by the James Hutton Institute and James Hutton Limited, both based in Dundee, to help Scottish producers meet the growing demand for home grown berries.
The projects will use the latest advancements in understanding plant genetics to identify traits in raspberries that make them more resilient to pests and diseases, and in blueberries, traits that are better adapted to growing in Scotland’s cooler climate.
The super-resilient berries could mean a sweeter deal for Scottish growers exhibiting at today’s show by boosting berry yields and extending the UK’s berry growing season, allowing consumers to buy their punnets all year round, and enabling Scottish producers to cash in on the huge demand for blueberries. ■