South Africa To Launch Seedless Breeding Of Grape Variety In Germany

In partnership with the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) and Culdevco, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) has announced the launching of the seedless breeding red table grape variety at the South African National Pavilion during the Fruit Logistica Trade Fair taking place in Berlin, Germany from 7-9 February 2018.

Joybells, a seedless red table grape variety cultivated by Ms. Phyllis Burger at the Agricultural Research Council (ARC). Photo: A Variety Of Fruits


In 2001, Ms. Phyllis Burger, a table grape breeder and Senior Researcher at ARC, has cultivated the red table grape variety named Joybells.

Sincr 1952, the breeding programme for grape varieties has undergone a number of changes that the industry has increased by size, as noted by Ms. Burger who has been involved in the development of numerous varieties over the years.

Burger said: “Based on the increase in the industry and consumer demands, as a research council together with the industry, we started to locally invest more into the seedless breeding programme in the past ten years. To get varieties in the table grape sector most South African growers relied heavily on imported varieties that had to be adapted to our climate. Therefore, there was a need to cultivate a breeding programme locally.” 

With the launch and introduction of Joybells in the table grape industry, South Africa’s profile as a serious table grape grower and supplier world-wide will be raised, according to The Chief Executive Officer of SATI, Mr. Willem Bestbier.

He noted that the South African agriculatural sector has always partnered with ARC in their research effort to breed and evaluate variety of cultivars as part of the holistic research that government with the industry invest on

“The table grape industry globally is spoilt for choice. There are many breeding programmes that are available in international markets, but nothing beats a home-bred success that has all the local breeding objectives focusing on our own reality like soil, climate, the market that we serve, farmers’ skills, and other inputs constraints or challenges that we face as the industry,” stated Mr. Bestbier.

He added that home-bred and locally evaluated breeding programme often performs better than an imported one and that the risks are lower.

Culdevco, a marketing and licensing company for South African deciduous fruit industry varieties, has also expressed that they are proud to partner with ARC and SATI to launch the freshest addition to its varieties.

The General Manager of Culdevco, Dr Leon Von Mollendorff commented: “Of the five recent varieties that have been released by Culdevco and the ARC, Joybells is the most successful to be commercially released in the global market. To top this fruitful result, market feedback from prominent global retailers has been immensely positive, adding to the promise of the commercial success in Europe and beyond.”