RECENT TRENDS IN STRAWBERRY PRODUCTION AND RESEARCH: AN OVERVIEW.
The five leading countries now are: USA (541,000t; + 84.6% in the decade), Poland (253,200t; + 31.1%), Spain (227,700t; + 309.5%), Japan (216,000t; + 12.3%) and Italy (161,800t; -28.3%), together totaling 1,399,700t, or 69.7% of the world production.
1.1 Changes in production:
Three trends are notable:
- expansion occured chiefly in areas with mild winters (Egypt and Spain are two examples). About 50% of the world production comes now from areas with mild winters, compared to 35% ten years ago;
- strawberries are now available as fresh fruit during the entire year rather than being a traditionally seasonal spring crop. This has resulted from breeding (release of the day-neutral varieties), intensive culture systems adoption, and choice of appropriate environment. As a consequence, fruit prices to growers fluctuate much less during the season than in a past; and
- remarkable increase and change in production patterns occurred as growers rapidly took advantage of research results from several different areas, especially breeding, cultural systems, plants physiology, fruit handling and post harvest technology.
These factors will be considered separately in this review of recent trends in strawberry research. Although disease and pest control have equal importance, they will not be discussed.