What solutions are there for the cherry and table grape sectors in France?

What solutions are there for the cherry and table grape sectors in France?
What solutions are there for the cherry and table grape sectors in France?

Given the strong pressure of pests in one sector and the tough competition in the other, what solutions can be found to save the cherry sector and reactivate the table grape sector? These two issues brought together producers and researchers on June 12 in Mazan, a town in the French department of Vaucluse, in a field day organized by the French Cherry AOP and the Table Grape AOP. Alexandra Lacoste, director of the organization, takes stock of the technical day and offers an update on the problems, both technical and economic, that both sectors face.

Cherries: anti-insect nets and biological control
For several years now, cherry growers have had to face increasing pest pressure (increased attacks by fruit flies Drosophila suzukii and also Rhagoletis cerasi) and the progressive disappearance of active solutions (dimethoate in 2016 and phosmet in 2022). The sector has repeatedly alerted the authorities about this issue, since the existing alternatives are not conclusive. Among the solutions presented on June 12 are anti-insect nets, in which some producers are investing thanks to subsidies and aid from the state government and some regions, and a research program on biological control, with trials underway.

Nicolas Borowiec, researcher at INRAE, the Sophia Agrobiotech Institute of Antibes, and head of the Research and Development program in Biological Control, presented the first results of the tests carried out with Ganaspis cf. brasiliensis G1 (GbG1). “The Ecophyto SUZoCARPO project was launched in 2023, with the aim of introducing GbG1 into the field for the first time. Five releases were carried out in 2023. It remains to be seen how this predator will establish and fight, as at the moment we are in the experimental phase,” warns the director.

INRAE ​​has been working on the issue of
Drosophila suzukii since 2012 (the first damage caused by the pest was recorded in France in 2010), starting with field studies in France to find out if local parasitoid species were capable of parasitizing the Drosophila suzukii.

In early 2024, as part of the cherry emergency plan launched by the French Ministry of Agriculture to support the industry, specific funding was made available to accelerate the development of biological control of D. suzukiiincluding more releases.

Other solutions are currently being tested, such as those led by the La Tapy regional experiment station, presented by Aliénor Royer: essential oils, changes in the calendar and other anti-insect nets.

Table grapes: a promising new variety?
While the objective of reducing the use of phytosanitary products forces the sector to orient itself towards resistant varieties, in the face of strong competition from European and southern hemisphere production, varietal research must contribute something new. “We are in a market dominated by other origins, present on the shelves twelve months of the year – France only produces 25% of national consumption – so if we introduce a new variety, it has to offer something more to both the producer and the consumer. , especially in terms of flavor. For some years, the sector has been carrying out a varietal research program to propose varieties resistant to downy mildew and powdery mildew. The program is carried out by researchers from INRAE-IFV and CTIFL Antenne La Tapy. , in collaboration with the Association of Table Grape Producer Organizations, and with the support of the Departmental Council of Vaucluse and the Southern Region.

Present at the technical day: Jean-Christophe Neyron, cherry producer and president of the Association of Cherry Producer Organizations of France; Nicolas Borowiec, entomological researcher at INRAE, responsible for the program to combat Drosophila suzukii; Christian Roux, table grape producer and president of the Association of Table Grape Producers Organizations; Loïc Le Cunff, geneticist at the French Vine Institute (INRAE, Montpellier).

This new white variety resistant to downy mildew and powdery mildew, presented by Loïc Lecunff, from the French Vine Institute (IFV), and by Benjamin Pierron, from CTIFL La Tapy, was planted on an experimental basis on the farms of several producers in Vaucluse. After very positive consumer tests from a gustatory point of view, “the new variety will be subject to commercial tests on a larger scale as soon as it enters production, to see if it can become a complement to our range of varieties.”

For more information:
AOP Cherries from France
AOP Table Grape
Maison de l’Agriculture
Site Agroparc
84912 Avignon (France)
Tel.: +33 (0)4 90 27 12 64
[email protected]
[email protected]

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