Semillero Vitalplant is designing plants that allow the harvest to be brought forward by up to 20 days.
It is called Big Plant and it is an innovative solution that saves time, money and many headaches for the producers. The manager of Vitalplant, Asensio Navarro, explains that “this produce concept –plants in a growth stage adapted to the client’s requirements– arose in response to the real problems suffered by the farmers, and it is working very well commercially”. They started with tomatoes, bringing the harvest forward by an average of 20 days and currently they have extended this to aubergines, peppers or courgettes, amongst others. “The client explains his requirements to us and we design the plant with the suitable characteristics: length, root capacity in cubic centimetres, with different substrates depending on the type of crop…”, Navarro states. Most of the clients are ecological producers. “In this system, the cycles are very short because diseases and pests obliterate them in a very short time, as they cannot use plant protection products and they need to replace the crop quickly. With Big Plant, they can harvest cucumbers in the middle of winter just 30 days after planting the crop for example and it allows them more production time and with fruit and vegetables on the market”, the executive states. There are also conventional produce farmers who choose this system, although it is slightly more expensive, as it allows them to guarantee a top quality harvest and have flexible availability for their clients.
One of the most interesting products marketed in Big Plant format is the papaya. “When we carried out the first trials, this crop was largely unknown and we obtained some very good results by applying our technique, exceeding all our expectations”, the manager states. This is when they decided to delve into other techniques such as the sexing of the papaya (a genetic analysis to determine the sex of the fruit and find the hermaphrodites, from which the best fruit are obtained), which was done in the Caribbean and developed along with other companies such as Lab SP.