DIVERSIFICATION AND GENETIC RESOURCES IN VEGETABLE SPECIES
A frequent strategy chosen by plant breeders is to avoid changing the habits of consumers by maintaining the final product's look while adding a genetic and technical improvement only aimed at the producers (for example : hydroponic forcing of Belgian endive). This cannot be called diversification.
The opposite strategy is to propose a brand new product genetically different by color, shape, size, taste or even species, unknown to consumers. This choice is economically risky which means that one of the partners has to make the move and convince the others.
The potential "new vegetables" sources are :
- the past (forgotten species),
- foreign countries (species or types used in other countries),
- botany (non-consumed species),
- improvement by classical crosses or genetical engineering, creating new types in well known species.
In all cases genetic resources are necessary as well as continuous effort in order to adapt the "new" product to agriculture, marketing, transformation and consumption that are in perpetual change.