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Food and Drink

Rupert Hargreaves

Rupert is Co-owner and director of Global Plant Genetics Ltd headquartered in Norfolk UK. The company has an Intellectual Property portfolio of world-class genetics in crops such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, grape rootstocks, wine grape varieties, walnuts, pistachios and asparagus. The varieties are protected and marketed internationally and licensed through nurseries, large growers or produce marketing companies. 

One business success

  • From a start-up just over six years ago Global Plant Genetics Ltd has created a world-leading Intellectual Property portfolio representing genetics from international plant breeding powerhouses such as the University of California USA, University of Georgia USA, James Hutton Institute Scotland and Oregon blueberries. Representing the genetics from these organisations has been instrumental in helping the Global Plant Genetics brand to become an international success.

Two challenges for the sector

  • Labour availability and cost continue to be a challenge for the industry. The recognition of this is important to our breeding partners when identifying varieties for the future. Total class one yield per plant will continue to be crucial to growers’ profitability as well as being a key factor in helping reduce labour costs per kilogram. A focus on yield improvement must not be to the detriment of increased disease resistance, better flavour and improved shelf life.
  • Growers are faced with an overwhelming number of new genetics from a large number of breeders. The challenge for leading breeders and IP companies will be to produce balanced and credible information for all stakeholders highlighting the social and environmental benefits of these new and improved varieties to help take an increased market share.

Three forecasts for the sector

  • Consumption of berries will undoubtedly continue to increase internationally as well as the use of wine grapes! Exports from major produce-producing countries will expand as well as production in new territories. We will continue to see a rise in consumption from our product sectors in more localised markets too.
  • Consumers will continue to take more interest in the health benefits of the products they are eating but will want to be more aware of the social and environmental aspects behind the production.
  • The value of Intellectual Property within the supply chain will continue to increase as new varieties offer improvements to all stakeholders from grower to consumer.

November 2021