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CPVO's plant breeding success stories: Deltacactus

European Union
February 27, 2024


In the 4th article in our 'Plant Breeding Success Stories' series, we talked to Janvier Andres Jimenez, Plant Breeder at Deltacactus, about their work, the challenges they face and their thoughts on Community Plant Variety Rights (CPVR) system.

Could you briefly describe the work of Deltacactus?

We produce succulent young plants and develop our own special varieties.

In what ways is your organization taking proactive measures to adapt to the environmental challenges brought about by climate change?

I can proudly say Deltacactus is a green company from head to toe.

Water scarcity poses a significant challenge in our region, but our focus on CAM plants, requiring 80% less water for photosynthesis, helps mitigate this issue. Moreover, our greenhouses serve as rain collectors, channelling water into a pond, while our recirculation system efficiently reuses drain water. Thanks to these measures, we produce over 8 million plants per year without taking a single drop from the irrigation network.

Energy consumption is reduced to a minimum thanks to our local weather, but also thanks to a sophisticated climate control software that has been developed for Deltacactus; Which optimizes climate conditions by passive means, without expending energy in climatization nor artificial lighting. On top of that, we generate around 8% of our total energy expenditure.
To further reduce our carbon footprint, we have already transitioned to peat-free substrates, and we are actively developing new alternative planting systems that will eliminate the use of non-reusable plastics.

Can you elaborate on your perspective regarding the significance of biodiversity for the future of plant genetics? Additionally, how can the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) system play a role in safeguarding and promoting this biodiversity?

Biodiversity is by far the main mechanism to ensure the survival of a species when environmental conditions change. And that is why biodiversity-increasing sexual reproduction is the dominant form of reproduction among plants. Maintaining germplasm collections and increasing biodiversity by any means, is a matter of need at this point. The CPVO could perhaps channel resources to maintain germplasm collections around Europe. Also reducing examination costs would promote plant breeding programs and therefore increase biodiversity.

Could you provide insights into your experience with the plant variety protection (PVP) system? What were the key factors that influenced your decision to opt for this system?

Having our own specialties gives us a market advantage, not to mention some degree of prestige. Developing a new variety requires a massive investment, not only in terms of money, labour, and time, but also in knowledge. A PVP system is the most reasonable way to make these investments viable. Without PVP, innovation incentives would be gone, and development would stall. 

Looking ahead, what challenges and opportunities do you anticipate for Plant Variety Rights (PVR) within your sector?

As the number of our own protected varieties increase, the main challenge might be to detect and prevent other nurseries from producing our varieties without permission. Regarding coming opportunities, we are optimistic because the consumers of ornamental plants keep demanding novel products consistently.

Can you discuss the advantages that Deltacactus gains from the legal certainty offered by the CPVO system?

The CPVO is a respected institution, and we believe it will protect the viability of our breeding programs if required.

How do you envision the future of plant breeding in relation to technological advancements and regulatory changes?

Regulatory updates are urgently required. When I previously said that biodiversity should be increased by any means, that includes modern breeding tools that are currently banned in Europe, against the will of the scientific community.

What role does corporate social responsibility play in your organization's approach to plant variety protection and sustainability?
Did you know that there is a mechanism, the SME Fund 2024, that grants 1500€ per SME like yourself, for online application and examination fees? Do you think this support can be helpful?

We prioritize ethical breeding practices, respect intellectual property rights, and promote environmental sustainability through our succulent plant development. Our aim is to make a positive impact on society while advancing our business objectives. 
We didn’t know about the SME Fund. That would absolutely help support our breeding programs. 


More news from: European Union - Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO)

Website: http://www.cpvo.europa.eu

Published: February 27, 2024

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