Costa Group, Australia’s leading global producer of blueberries, will be at the International Blueberry Days event at Macfrut from 3-5 May 2023, Rimini Expo Centre, Italy. It will participate in the Symposium on the first day of the trade fair (3 May), which will bring together the world’s leading experts on blueberries. International Blueberry Days is organised by Macfrut, coordinated by Professor Bruno Mezzetti of the Marche Polytechnic University in collaboration with Thomas Drahorad of NCX Drahorad.
This global event will be attended by Costa Group’s Maurizio Rocchetti, who is the Senior Horticulturist of the leading Australian company that grows fresh fruit and vegetables. Rocchetti has been working as Blueberry Production Manager in the Berry category for the last 10 years and is now Plant Supply Manager, overseeing the supply of plants and selecting varieties in all regions of Australia where these small fruits are grown.
“Costa is Australia’s leading grower, packer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables, operating primarily in five main categories: wild berries, mushrooms, greenhouse tomatoes, citrus fruits and avocados. It has a total of approximately 7,200 planted hectares of farmland, 40 hectares of glasshouse facilities and three mushroom growing facilities across Australia. As for Costa’s strategic interests abroad, it has majority-owned ventures in six blueberry farms in Morocco and four blueberry and raspberry farms in China, with a total of about 750 hectares of cultivated land,” explained Rocchetti.
He focuses on blueberry growing, which will be the topic of his speech at the International Blueberry Days event at Macfrut: ‘Costa’s blueberries are grown in Australia in four different states and at five different latitudes on approximately 480 hectares. The various growing regions enable Costa to supply its customers with fruit all year round. Several varieties of blueberries are grown so that they can adapt to all kinds of environmental conditions, most of which are of the premium “Arana” variety that was developed by Costa.’
The company has developed a specific program for blueberries. It is called Variety Improvement Program and is globally recognised, with Costa varieties licensed in regions including the Americas, Morocco, China and South Africa. Headquartered at Corindi on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Australia, the program develops one to two new varieties of blueberries of global commercial value each year.
In conclusion, Rocchetti said, “It utilises Costa’s extensive network of farms located at different latitudes, from cold temperate to subtropical climates, and evaluates and develops new varieties with different chilling requirements, which are therefore suitable for a variety of global growing conditions to meet the needs of customers worldwide. By using traditional plant breeding techniques, the team identifies and develops new cultivars that are selected across key areas for their performance in terms of fruit quality, productivity and agronomic outcomes.”