Plans to authorise Cripps Pink trees in South America

In the spirit of collaboration and to maintain international licensing consistency, Star Fruits are encouraging growers in Chile, Uruguay and Brazil to declare their Cripps Pink and Rosy Glow trees to ensure they can continue to export to the EU and participate in the Pink Lady® brand program.

Since the first Cripps Pink trees were introduced to Chile, application of plant breeder’s rights (PBR) has not been achievable for various reasons. However, in the last 20 years Viveros Requinoa, the nursery licensed to sell Cripps Pink trees in Chile, has started to authorise Chilean growers to make sure exporters were meeting their obligations when exporting fruit to countries where PBR were in force.

Cripps Pink apples growing in Chile.

As Star Fruits CEO Renaud Pierson explains there is now a mix of licensed and unlicensed growers in Chile and Star Fruits’ goal is to ensure all Cripps Pink growers are using licensed trees to ensure the system is uniform. “The current situation is unfair towards licensed growers in Chile, but also in other countries around the world where planting occurred according to local PBR regulations,” Renaud said.

“It is also unfair towards the creator of the variety, the Department of Agriculture and Food of Western Australia (DAFWA).” This is because Chilean growers were initially able to plant the variety without contributing a royalty payment for Cripps Pink trees as there was no PBR. “In addition, uncontrolled Cripps Pink plantings have complicated the control on the legal plantings of the two other Cripps Pink mutations (CPMs) – Rosy Glow and Lady in Red,” Renaud said.

There are legal implications associated with fruit from unauthorised trees entering the EU, (including the UK, before and after Brexit), as this fruit is subject to variety protection held by Star Fruits for that territory. The tree authorisation program is based around this protection.

Opportunity for Chilean growers

To assist Chilean growers in becoming compliant with the global standard of Cripps Pink and CPMs growers worldwide, Star Fruits and DAFWA have been working closely with Viveros Requinoa and Andes New Varieties Administration (the nursery licensed to sell Rosy Glow).

The solution is to provide an opportunity for all Chilean growers to declare their trees. To ensure the process is smooth and effective Decofrut, a Chilean produce consultancy, has been appointed to manage the process which includes issuing tree authorisation agreements to growers and controlling declaration and planting situations.

“Decofrut already works for the Pink Lady® program to control, on behalf of APAL, quality of Pink Lady® exported from Chile,” Renaud said.

“They’ve also developed a well know service of export monitoring which APAL and Pink Lady® master licensees are subscribed.”

Growers in Chile have until 30 November 2018 to declare their Cripps Pink and Rosy Glow trees to Decofrut.

“This opportunity is entirely voluntary and growers can choose to participate or not. Growers who don’t participate are aware that product from their Cripps Pink or Rosy Glow trees will not be permitted, from May 2019, entry into the EU,” Renaud said.

The process

Following authorisation, each Cripps Pink and Rosy Glow tree will be associated with an official Agricultural and Livestock Service Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero (SAG) number subject to biosecurity regulation in Chile.

“When exporting Cripps Pink and CPMs packers will have to report, as they already do for other apples, the SAG number on each single box and pallet lists,” Renaud said.

“The monitoring of Cripps Pink and CPMs exports and imports will be facilitated by the development of a software which each packer and exporter in Chile will have access to.

“Importers in the EU will also have access to make sure that Cripps Pink and CPMs supplies, whether or not the Pink Lady® trademark is used, are coming from authorised SAG registered orchards.”

The process is also supported by the key industry bodies in Chile, Fedefrutta the growers’ association, and ASOEX, the exporters’ association.

Renaud said they are unsure how many Cripps Pink trees are in the ground in Chile and how many will be authorised. The process will provide:

  • Chilean growers with access to the EU for their Cripps Pink and Rosy Glow exports;
  • Cripps Pink and CPMs growers access to the same conditions in respect to IP rights on varieties; and
  • An understanding of who is growing the fruit and a way to monitor international supply.

“Given the magnitude of this process, and to facilitate administration and account management for Chilean growers, Star Fruits has established an office in Chile to manage this process directly,” Renaud said.

“It is an additional task we accepted in order to serve and secure the best interests of Chilean growers. On an international level, Pink Lady® program participants will benefit considering the size of the Chilean industry in the global Pink Lady® apple supply.”

Other countries with unauthorised trees

A similar situation has occurred in Brazil and Uruguay with Cripps Pink trees being introduced to the country without protection of the variety. Renaud said the introduction of the program in Chile, has allowed for discussions to commence in each of these countries to ensure all Cripps Pink and CPMs growers are authorised and entitled to the same benefits as other growers around the world.

“Given the smaller size of the industry and the lower complexity of the situation, Uruguay will be addressed for the next export season in April 2019,” Renaud said. “The Brazilian situation will be explored later.”

Regulating Cripps Pink and CPMs in these three countries will encourage further international development of the Pink Lady® program. “A condition of the use of the Pink Lady® trademark is that the fruit comes from authorised trees. Moving forward, it’s important to ensure we have an effective, consistent global management structure in place for the growth and development of these varieties, regardless of the country,” Renaud said.

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About the Author:

Communications and Events Officer, Apple and Pear Australia Limited