THE STRAWBERRY BREEDING PROGRAM FOR NORTH ITALY
In the crosses a complementary recombination scheme was initially was initially followed (high yielding european varieties x american varieties and selections with disease resistance and superior fruit traits) now a recurrent selection scheme is followed.
Four cultivars were released in 1982 (Addie, Brio, Cesena, and Dana) and three in 1986 (Etna, Ferrara and Gea).
In the plantings of the 1987 summer in Cesena's district of over 23 million plants (500 ha, 1600 farms) 77% belonged to three 1982 releases (Addie, dana and Cesena) and 6% to two 1986 releases (Gea and Etna).
The Italian strawberry industry, up to four years ago, totally depended on foreign varieties (Bargioni, 1989) originated either in other European countries (in France "Belrubi", in the Netherlands "Gorella") or in USA (in Maryland "Pocahontas", in California "Aliso", "Sequoia" and "Tioga" which were popular in the 1970's and where then substituted by "Chandler", "Douglas", "Pajaro", and "Selva").
The varieties introduced from abroad did not always completely satisfy the growers. As a consequence a breeding activity started in our country more than twenty years ago.
As a result of the first activity the Instituto Coltivazioni Arboree of the University of Bologna released four varieties in 1970 (Baldini, 1970) and a fifth three years later (Baldini, 1973).
At the Istituto Sperimentale Frutticoltura of Rome the first crosses were performed in 1966. The program continued through the following years; a significant improvement came after 1972 when the cooperation with the USDA Fruit Laboratory, in Beltsville, Md., USA, started and made advanced selections from that program available for field observations and crosses.
From 1978, the two mentioned Institutions, together with the Istituto Patologia Vegetale of the University of Bologna, joined their activities in a breeding program supported by a special grant of the Emilia-Romagna Region through ERSO of Cesena. The group received consistent economic support for facing the significant crisis in strawberry cultivation in the Emilia-Romagna region, the most