Galina Antonova: Shorter vegetation period is one of the main advantages of Bulgarian variety of broccoli31 March 2013 | 21:31 | FOCUS News Agency
FOCUS: Associate Professor Antonova, the first Bulgarian variety of broccoli called IZK Iskra is already on sale. How did the idea to create a Bulgarian variety of broccoli pop up?
Associate Professor Galina Antonova: The idea is related with the requirements towards today’s agriculture, i.e. a rise in the biological diversity of new varieties and introduction of new crops. What is more, broccoli is sufficiently interesting to Bulgarian producers and it widens the range of cabbage plants in Bulgaria. The vegetable is rich in Vitamin C.
FOCUS: How long did it take to develop it?
Associate Professor Galina Antonova: It is a very long process. It took us about 10 years to create it.
FOCUS: How was the Bulgarian variety of broccoli made?
Associate Professor Galina Antonova: First, there was a good selection of source forms which later became parent components. With the best combinations we made individual selection and we got the variety. Everything should be tested and you should check whether the components are stable and can achieve the goals of the selectionist.
FOCUS: Do you think the Bulgarian variety of broccoli will have potential on the Bulgarian market?
Associate Professor Galina Antonova: I think all Bulgarian varieties have potential on the Bulgarian market. They have been approved by the Executive Agency for Testing Varieties, Approbation and Control of Seeds. This is to say that they meet the Agency’s requirements and have biological and agricultural qualities. When the variety is out for sale, it is in competition with other products on the market. The final choice is made by producers. Consumers’ opinion should be taken into account as well.
FOCUS: How much will it cost? Will it be expensive?
Associate Professor Galina Antonova: No, it will not be. The variety is direct, which means its price will be three times lower than the price of the hybrid varieties offered by foreign companies.
FOCUS: Does the Bulgarian variety of broccoli have advantages over imported varieties?
Associate Professor Galina Antonova: One of the main advantages of the Bulgarian variety of broccoli is its shorter vegetation period. This is the period from its planting to the harvesting of the central flower heads, which is around 70 to 80 days. Its harvesting ends 10-15 days earlier than the harvesting of the other hybrid varieties selected by foreign companies. The advantage is that there are returns of the money Bulgarian producers invest. The more quickly the yield is gathered and the produce is sold, the more quickly some of the money invested by the producers is paid off. The yield of the secondary flower heads in this variety is very high and this makes it possible to gather the yield of secondary flower heads for a longer time. They also have a market, although their price is different than the one of the central flower heads.
FOCUS: How will you promote the new variety of broccoli to the agriculture industry?
Associate Professor Galina Antonova: First, we start with a small amount of seeds. Then we keep in touch with the people we sold the seeds to and we follow what happens with the seeds. After that if there are enough means, and this is valid for all institutions in the Academy, the results will be demonstrated, not only the new variety of broccoli, but also all new varieties. It is a good idea to invest money in demonstration fields so that people can come and taste the new variety. As to potential varieties, producers should be able to come to the field, see, touch, smell and choose the best. In this way there will be larger marketing and larger distribution of the variety.
FOCUS: Have agricultural producers already eyed the new variety of broccoli?
Associate Professor Galina Antonova: Yes, they have. Agricultural producers have bought seeds for planting.
FOCUS: How long does it take for a broccoli seed to sprout and develop into vegetable?
Associate Professor Galina Antonova: It takes from about 7 to 10 days, because the sprouts are produced between June 15 and the end of July. By June 15, if all technological requirements are observed, the seeds sprout.
FOCUS: What kind of requirements do you mean?
Associate Professor Galina Antonova: The requirements are watering the broccoli regularly during hot spells, growing the broccoli sprouts under a protective net that provides more shadow, because if the sprouts are constantly under the sun’s rays, the microclimate becomes different and cooler. You should observe them regularly to fend off pests, mainly greenflies. After that the sprouts are ready in around 35-40 days. They have 5 to 6 well-formed leaves and it is planted in a permanent place. It is recommended to grow it in a permanent place and irrigate it with sprinklers, because broccoli, like all other cabbage plants, requires higher air humidity, which you can provide best through irrigation sprinklers. After the 35-day period it takes around 75-80 days for the central flower heads to take shape. You should be careful when you gather them – the head should be densely structured and it should not be falling apart. You should find the right time of maturity.
FOCUS: You can buy the new variety from the Institute of Vegetable Crops Maritsa – Plovdiv. Where else are broccoli seeds available for sale?
Associate Professor Galina Antonova: For now we have not sold broccoli seeds to distributors or owners of agropharmacies who would distribute it across the country. For now the seeds are available only in the Institute of Vegetable Crops Maritsa – Plovdiv.
The interview has been shortened.
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